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Transportation Auto dealer takes award as it plans novel repair concept

Auto dealer takes award as it plans novel repair concept

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Scott Nishimura snishimura@bizpress.net

Frank Kent Cadillac is wandering around in some tall cotton. The Fort Worth dealership has been awarded Cadillac Dealer of the Year by General Motors, an award the brand gives to just 20 of 900 dealers annually. GM makes the awards based on last year’s sales growth, customer satisfaction reports, and facility procedures and processes. Will Churchill, who owns the Kent auto group with his sister Corrie Churchill, said the award was a nice recognition of several changes the dealership has made and its plans for the future. “It’s an extremely small pool,” Will Churchill said. “We’re really starting to see the fruits of our labor.”

The dealership’s sales grew 30 percent last year, compared with 8 to 9 percent for the brand, Churchill said. That was on top of similar growth in 2012, he said. Churchill attributed the sales growth to the dealership’s move to new quarters on West Loop 820 South and to several years of training for sales representatives. He said the Kent auto group, which also includes Honda and Hyundai, is on track to open a wine shop and auto repair drop-off center on West Magnolia Avenue on June 1. The shop, at 1101 W. Magnolia Ave., arose from brainstorming about how to better reach millennials. It will sell wines and hors d’oeuvres. Customers can drop their cars off for repairs – no drop-off charge likely if you bought your car from Kent. A selection of cars will be on display, but there will be no sales staff on hand to pitch them, Churchill said. That’s a way to ensure that customers feel completely comfortable, he said. One challenge: Trying to figure out whether customers who drop their cars off in early evening will be able to get them back the same night. “That’s something we’ve got to work through,” he said.  

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