GLASGOW — Eddie Franklin was in Glasgow on Friday tending to a few items relating to a new business.
Franklin and his family, who are from Adair County, have purchased Goodman Chevrolet, Cadillac and Nissan along Happy Valley Road.
Signs signifying the auto dealership is under new ownership went up earlier in the week.
The auto dealership will now be known as Don Franklin Chevrolet, Cadillac and Nissan.
Franklin says he has been friends with the former owner of the auto dealership, Joe Goodman of Glasgow, for nearly 40 years.
“When Joe decided that he wanted to fully retire, he called us and we made a deal over the phone in about 20 minutes,” Franklin said.
It didn't take long to make the business transaction because Franklin said they knew each other and knew each other's business.
“He wanted somebody who could continue on with the family-owned theme and to take care of people. He knew what we were about and we knew what he was about,” Franklin said. “It was a very, simple, straight-forward deal and Joe has been one of the nicest, best transitions in all of the dealerships we own. That's a testimony to Joe and his family.”
Franklin and his family own auto dealerships in Somerset, Nicholasville, Russell Springs, Monticello, Campbellsville, Burkesville, London, Bardstown and Lexington, as well as in Columbia and Glasgow.
They sell Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Ford, Lincoln, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Dodge Ram and Fiat autos.
The Franklin family has been in business in Columbia for 51 years.
“I still live there. Our original store is there. My father started in 1968,” Franklin said. “My father passed away in 2008, but our family is still very deeply involved. It's me and my brother, and then he has two boys and I have three boys and all of us are in the business.”
Franklin's mother, Barbara, also still participates in the business.
“It's a family affair,” he said. “My wife is kind of the controller of the whole outfit, which her name is Lillie. She's the one that keeps us all straight, her and mom.”
The Franklin family purchased 25 acres of what has come to be known as the former SKF property adjacent to the auto dealership in Glasgow about four years ago and has plans to expand the auto dealership to that property.
“We plan on growing from more parking area to more service capacity to everything,” Franklin said. “We just want to expand.”
New vehicles will be sold at the existing lot, while between 300 to 400 used vehicles of various makes and models will be available for sale on the soon-to-be developed lot.
Franklin's plan for the future is simple. He wants to grow his business.
“We want to be able to service Barren and surrounding counties with anything they want so they don't have to go out of town,” he said.
A majority of the used and all of the new vehicles Franklin will have for sale will feature a free, 15-year, 500,000 mile power train warranty.
“We've been in business for 51 years and we want people to come back and buy from us for the next 51 years,” he said. “It's all about building family and building relationships. We've got five or six generations buying from us at Columbia and some of our original stores, so we've been very, very blessed. Our philosophy is very simple — God first, family second and the rest works. That's the bottom line to it all right there.”
With the expansion will come new job opportunities.
Franklin intends to hire additional employees. The auto dealership in Glasgow has about 30 employees, but Franklin said he and his family are looking to double that number.
“We are hiring for all departments,” he said.
Franklin and his family don't intend to utilize all 25 acres of the former SKF property and said they have had some offers to purchase or develop parts of it.
“We are open to developing it for other businesses if somebody wants to buy an acre, two acres or five acres,” he said. “We are wide open to developing it for other businesses in Glasgow.”
Prior to opening a location in Glasgow, Franklin and his family already had quite a bit of business here.
“We sold vehicles down here from our Columbia, from our Bardstown location and even from our Somerset location,” he said. “People had come up and bought from us so we had a good clientele and we knew several people down here.”
He continued that he and his family has several friends in the Glasgow area, and that they attend the Church of Christ and knew some of the ministers in the area.
Franklin has also known Mike Hyde, who owns the Gillie Hyde Auto Dealerships also along Happy Valley Road and in Tompkinsville, as well as Danny Gibson, who owns the Bailey-Gibson Auto Dealership that is also along Happy Valley Road, for several years and said he “thinks the world of them.”
“It's about not cutting each other. It's about helping each other do more,” Franklin said. “We're good friends with them and I think we will remain good friends for quite a while to come.”
For more information about the Franklin family's auto dealerships, go to www.donfranklinauto.com. For those who would like to apply for a position, they may also visit the website or stop by the Glasgow location and see Chris Franklin, he said.