Long-time dealerships combine

COVINGTON - Two long-time local auto dealerships joined forces Dec. 1, when Ginn Motor Company purchased Walker Harris Chrysler Jeep Dodge.

Ginn has been in business since 1922, while Walker Harris started up in 1963.

Ginn's history of customer service is what prompted Walker Harris Dealer Principal and President Stan Harris to approach the company when the decision was made to sell.

"We talked to several people. They were the first ones we talked to. We knew we'd like to keep somebody local that would continue the way we operated," Harris said.

The Walker Harris dealership on U.S. Highway 278 will soon become Ginn Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Ginn will retain its dealership on the Access Road and the Ginn Preowned Superstore on Salem Road, said General Manager Tim Cartledge.

"It gives us the opportunity to grow the business. It gives the community the opportunity to do business with people they feel comfortable with. It's a great opportunity for the community and certainly a great opportunity for Ginn," Cartledge said.

Due to health problems, Harris said he was forced this summer to decide whether to continue on with the business, which his father, Walker Harris, now 86, started, or to sell. He said he knew right away that whoever bought the company should have a similar business philosophy.

"We've just been very low-key, no high pressure, and making sure that our service was five-star," he said.

Harris said the transition has been smooth, and all 18 Walker Harris employees were retained.

In addition, Ginn has hired six new employees, bringing the total employee count for all three dealership locations to about 112.

Cartledge said the plan is to expand the inventory at the old Walker Harris dealership as well, keeping between 100 to 125 new cars and 50 to 60 used vehicles in stock at all times.

"We feel it's going to be a big success. We feel like they're going to grow it," Harris said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.