After working in a dealership for three decades, including currently as a dealer principal, Mack Huckaby was thinking of slowing down a bit. Then he learned that the GMC Cadillac store down the road might be on the market. Thoughts of retirement vanished.
“I am the kind of person who has always got to have a challenge,” Huckaby tells Automotive Buy Sell Report.
Huckaby is the new owner of the former Classic Cadillac GMC dealership in Anniston,. GA. And with a daughter who wants to follow in his footsteps, he isn’t done expanding.
The dealership, now called Superior Cadillac GMC, is just down the street from Huckaby’s other dealership, Superior Hyundai. The new franchises are a good fit, he says.
“We didn’t have a truck line with Hyundai. This came about and made perfect sense,” says Huckaby.
Huckaby aims to combine some of his dealerships’ office staff in one location while expanding the sales and service staff at his new store. He sees growth opportunities on the service side, which the former absentee owner allowed to languish, he says.
Used cars is another area Huckaby sees growth opportunities. His Hyundai store does a healthy pre-owned business and “we will bring that back into the (Cadillac GMC) market,” he says.
Huckaby found out the store might be for sale from his accountant, who knew that another of the Classic group’s stores was on the block and figured the owners might also want to sell Classic Cadillac GMC. Huckaby says he didn’t use a broker for the transaction.
The Cadillac GMC store is not image compliant. Currently, Huckaby is making some improvements on the interior as well as resurfacing the parking lot and repairing the lot lighting. Major construction work on the exterior will happen later.
The two new franchises are a “perfect fit” for the Anniston market, says Huckaby. Anniston, a town of more than 22,000, is an hour from Atlanta and 40 minutes from Birmingham. The Honda plant is 20 minutes away in Lincoln, AL, and hardwood floor and panel manufacturer Kronspan has a plant a few minutes away in Oxford, AL. There is also a “huge hospital” in the area, says Huckaby.
With Hyundai, Cadillac, and GMC franchises, he can serve the customer seeking gas savings with Hyundai, the luxury market with Cadillac, and business and family SUV and pickup market with GMC, figures Huckaby.
General Motors has been good to work with on the ownership transfer, he says. He likes the new product coming up in the GMC line, as well as Cadillac’s planned face lifts.
And the Cadillac dealer in Birmingham has done a good job marketing the brand, adds Huckaby.
“It is the perfect time to be a GMC Cadillac dealer,” he says.
Many family-owned dealerships are facing a succession crisis, with no family members interested in working in the dealership business. Huckaby is fortunate – his youngest daughter, who just graduated from high school, wants to follow in his footsteps.
“She tells the general manager they are going to be working together one day,” Huckaby says proudly.
Huckaby sees manufacturer support growing for women managing dealerships and hopes his daughter can benefit from that.
She will attend Jacksonville State University in Alabama for a year, taking some business classes, says Huckaby. Then she will attend the NADA Academy or Northwood University.
Huckaby, 56, is a first-generation dealership owner. He got into the business in high school when he went to work washing cars at a friend’s dad’s Datsun dealership. He moved into sales, then to parts and service. Huckaby bought the owner out in 1998.
He sold the by-then Nissan store, and acquired a Hyundai Jeep Chrysler store in Anniston. Huckaby lost Chrysler and Jeep in the FCA reorganization.
Besides his daughter, Huckaby has a bunch of long-term employees including his general manager of 25 years, who runs the business on a day-to-day basis, says Huckaby. He wants to give those employees opportunities, as well.
Regarding his next acquisition. Huckaby doesn’t have any specific franchises in mind.
“It depends on what’s available,” he says. “Opportunity comes along.”