CONYERS - John Miles, owner of John Miles Chevrolet in Conyers, visits his dealership no more than once a week, but Kim Miles, his daughter, who took over the dealership, said his presence permeates the daily workings of the business.
"Every day I talk to that man, seven times a day, every day," Kim Miles said. "It's almost like he's here."
Seven years ago, John talked his daughter into moving back to Conyers to take over the family business so he could retire. Kim, who worked as an office controller for a manufacturing company at the time, was ready to try something new and quickly moved home to get started. Soon after, John sold his daughter 20 percent of the company, and the business partnership began to grow. A few years have passed, and their business is still going strong.
"He has helped me through tough times and helped me manage in a tough economy," Kim said.
John Miles Chevrolet was one of the few dealerships that received good news from General Motors earlier this month when dealerships across the country were receiving notices of closing. The dealership remains in operation. John contributes their success to good management, high customer satisfaction and their new facility. Kim attributes it to her dad.
"I don't want to do it without him," she said.
John, however, plans to sell the remaining 80 percent of his company to his daughter in the future. He said that she has helped raise his customer satisfaction index and improve other aspects of the business since she's been there.
"She has done a very good job," he said. "She is a career-type minded kind of person."
Still, their dealership is run very much like a partnership. Kim will call her dad for advice every once in a while and ask for help dealing with employees and customers.
"He told me that I had to be tough," she said. "I've had to learn to stand up to people and make sure that I'm clear."
For the Miles family, selling automobiles is in their blood. John's father had worked as an automobile dealer.
"I grew up in the automobile business with him," John said. "I grew up, and I never knew anything else."
John, who has owned a variety of dealerships throughout the years, was then able to share his love for cars with his daughter.
"It's like home to me, I guess," Kim said. "He's as interested in this business as he was when it started."
Whether John is physically at the dealership or not, Kim still likes having her father's support. Even though she is the one running the dealership, Kim said it always will be her dad's business.
"It's fun that we can be together as a team ourselves," she said.
Brittany Binowski can be reached at email@example.com.