Auto Empire: Pinehurst Group Adds Chevy to List
Pinehurst Auto Group is adding Chevrolet to its growing family of dealerships.
On Thursday, the group finalized a deal to buy Steve Jones Chevrolet, the third local dealership it has acquired in six months.
"We are extremely excited that we are able to blend Chevrolet in with our GM dealership," said Tom Holder-field, managing partner of Pinehurst Auto Group.
Pinehurst Auto Group bought Toby Wells Buick-Pontiac-GMC on U.S. 1 in Southern Pines on Oct. 31 and Central Carolina Nissan of Southern Pines on U.S. 15-501 on Dec. 21.
Those dealerships were renamed Pinehurst Buick-Pontiac-GMC and Pinehurst Nissan. The group also owns Pinehurst Toyota-Hyundai-Mitsubishi-Kia.
The newest dealership, now named Southern Pines Chevrolet-Buick-Pontiac-GMC, is at 1590 U.S. 1 in Southern Pines. It does not have Pinehurst in its name because another local Chevrolet dealership already uses Pinehurst in its name.
Despite the recent flurry of acquisitions, Holderfield said Pinehurst Auto Group has no plans for more expansion.
"That doesn't mean me we won't listen if someone comes to us," Holderfield said.
Jones cited health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family as reasons for selling to Pinehurst Auto Group. For six years Jones has battled debilitating illness that has diminished his ability to breathe due to lung damage caused by mold exposure.
"This has been a very difficult decision for me and my family, but it is one we ultimately had to make," Jones said.
Jones will maintain ownership of Steve Jones Honda and open a used car lot where Steve Jones Chevrolet used to be located.
Holderfield called the sale a "smooth process" that took less than a month to complete after Jones first approached Pinehurst Auto Group with the idea.
Jones and Pinehurst Auto Group worked diligently to find jobs for all former employees of Steve Jones Chevrolet.
"Some will go to the new dealership, others will stay with us," Jones said. "Some jobs just won't be available with us, but we've worked hard so that everyone has an opportunity."
Holderfield said the new Chevrolet models are being relocated, and other changes are on the way.
"We are in the process of getting a temporary sign," Holderfield said. "The permanent sign will come from Chevrolet, and we hope to have that in 30 to 45 days."
Some longtime employees who remained with Steve Jones said it is different without the Chevy dealership, which he purchased along with his Honda dealership in 1999.
"It is strange driving up the road and not seeing that Chevrolet sign, but I think it was a good business decision, and the (Chevrolet) franchise isn't leaving the area so that is a benefit for the county," said David Voss, who is the service manager at Steve Jones Honda. He has been with Jones since he bought both dealerships.
Jones said he will miss owning the dealership.
"I have a real love for the automobile and this is the most rewarding job I have ever had," Jones said, "but other things have become more important to me."
Tom Embrey can be reached at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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