Hunter Automotive acquires first store
Jed Hunter and John Paul Strong of newly formed Hunter Automotive purchased their first store late last year from Jeff Southworth. Hunter’s wife, Meghan Hunter, was also a buyer.
They closed on the former Southworth Ford in Marion, Ind., on Dec. 30. It was renamed Hunter Ford.
Marion is in central Indiana, north of Indianapolis.
Jed Hunter told Automotive News that he and Strong had been looking to buy a store together since a previous acquisition fell through in 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gary Russo, president of the Team Russo firm, whom Hunter knew when he worked for Penske Automotive Group Inc., facilitated the transaction, Jed Hunter said.
“Russo introduced me to Southworth, and we got along, and we thought it was a good price, and we bought the store,” he said.
Jed Hunter said there had been minor staff changes, including hiring technicians and service advisers, plus making some internal promotions. The store’s Quick Lane also reopened, he added.
Before buying the dealership, Jed Hunter was CEO of Allegiance Trucks and previously worked as COO for West Herr Automotive Group, according to his LinkedIn profile.
At Penske, he was an area vice president of Cleveland and Minneapolis and worked as a general manager.
He said he has always been drawn to the car business, and he and Meghan Hunter have been saving to buy a dealership for almost 24 years.
“We are super proud to be owners, and we’re thrilled to be Ford dealers in Marion,” he said.
Strong is owner of Strong Automotive Merchandising, a privately owned automotive advertising and marketing company in Birmingham, Ala.
Hunter Automotive is open to future acquisition opportunities, Jed Hunter said.
“We’ve got work to do at our core store here, but obviously, we’re looking to grow,” he said.
Garber Automotive buys two New York dealerships
Garber Automotive Group has purchased two stores in Canandaigua, NY, selling General Motors brands.
The auto retailer on Feb. 27 acquired Farnsworth Chevrolet, Randall Buick-GMC-Cadillac and a collision center from Randall Farnsworth Auto Group, a family-owned business in Canandaigua, southeast of Rochester.
Garber Automotive renamed the stores Garber Randall Chevrolet and Garber Randall Buick-GMC-Cadillac.
The stores’ former owner, Randy Farnsworth, will stay as executive manager of the Chevrolet store, while Alexandra Farnsworth, his daughter, will be executive manager of the Buick-GMC-Cadillac dealership.
The Farnsworth family has operated its dealerships in Canandaigua since 1917.
In a LinkedIn post, Alexandra Farnsworth said the new ownership will be “a natural fit for us, given the Garber family’s history, longevity and stellar reputation as a family-owned business. Their shared cultural values for customer and employee relations and their community- oriented mindset were all important to us.”
Garber retained the dealerships’ current staff and will hire new employees, Garber CFO Patrick Hengesbach told Automotive News in an e-mail.
Garber Automotive, of Saginaw, Mich., operates stores in New York, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina and Michigan.
It also operates RightWay Auto Sales, a network of more than 50 used-car stores in six Midwestern states, and Gateway Financial Solutions, which offers used-vehicle loans.
Garber Automotive ranks No. 77 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the US, with retail sales of 12,052 new vehicles in 2022.
President Richard Garber was honored as a Time Dealer of the Year nominee this year. He is the third generation to run the family business, which was launched in 1907.