In 1945, Audie “A.C.” Wilson opened up a hardware store in downtown Jasper with Harry Sherer. The business was called “S&W Hardware”—the “S” for Sherer and the “W” for Wilson.
For years the store sold nothing but hardware, but beginning in the late 1950s, A.C. was looking for something else to sell. Eventually he began selling washers and dryers and aluminum fishing boats. But A.C. also began selling Cushman motorcycles, which would prove to be an important development in the history of the business.
In the early 1960s, a gentleman out of Parrish began selling Honda motorcycles, and when the Honda corporation approached A.C., S&W became a local Honda motorcycle dealer.
Around 1970, Harry Sherer decided he wanted out of the hardware business and A.C. bought him out. (Sherer had political aspirations and was elected to the local city council.) A.C. was losing a partner, but later he would gain one in his grandson.
While attending the University of Alabama, Jim Wilson worked at S&W Hardware. As opposed his grandfather, Jim liked the “big ticket” items—i.e. selling motorcycles. Jim had plans to go to dental school after college graduation, but Honda convinced him otherwise. Honda told Jim, “If you’ll stay, we’ll stay.” Jim thought he would try it for one year and reassess after that time whether he wanted to go to dental school or stay in the hardware/motorcycle business. We all know how this story ends.
Jim stayed and the name was eventually changed to S&W Honda. The business added Yamaha in 1976, the same year he bought his grandfather out. Now the business operates as S&W Powersports and Jim Wilson remains the owner.
In addition to motorcycles, S&W Powersports sells side-by-sides, personal watercraft, and ATVs. Manufacturers include Honda, Yamaha, and Trailblazer.
Speaking of the business’s relationship with Honda, Jim says proudly, “We have one of the oldest dealer numbers in the nation for Honda. We get plaques for 50, 60 years of service.” 78
S&W Powersports is located at 12000 Hwy 78 in Jasper. For more information, call (205) 483-1000.