Dealer seeks growth, traffic

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Charles Haigler Jr., (left) owner of Fort Deposit Motor Company, and General Manager Ken Gibson inspect the progress of the new Greenville Motor Company which is expected to be in full operation by the end of the year.

Photo by Derek Brown.

When Charles Haigler Sr., moved the Canterbury Motor Company to Fort Deposit from Hayneville in 1929, he was seeking a higher traffic volume to make his business more successful. And, establishing Fort Deposit Motor Company just off what was then Highway 31, the only road between Montgomery and Mobile at the time, Haigler was able to build a successful dealership that has become a staple supplier of automobiles to people throughout Lowndes and Butler counties for more than 70 years.

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Haigler's son, Charles Haigler Jr., is now moving the dealership to Greenville for the same reason, higher traffic, and he says he expects the growth and success that has made selling automobiles a tradition in his family to follow.

"The automobile manufacturers are pretty much dictating that we move into a higher traffic area," Haigler said. "There is a trend for the manufacturers to move out of the small towns into medium and larger markets. We hate to leave but we do understand the manufacturers wanting us to be in a higher traffic location."

Haigler said he chose Greenville for the location of his new dealership because it has become a regional shopping area that attracts people from a wide geographic area. He said the company has considered moving to Greenville for many years and has faced delays from building specifications and franchise negotiations.

In the early summer of 1999, Haigler began construction of a new facility just off Interstate 65 between Winn-Dixe and Cracker Barrel. Now nearing completion, the state-of-the-art dealership, expected to be in full operation by the first of the year, was especially designed under General Motors Image 2000 specifications which Haigler says will give customers a new experience when shopping for a car.

Haigler says the new Greenville Motor Company will allow him to double the size of his dealership and better serve its customers.

"We will have the most modern and up to date dealership facility in order to better serve our customersone which all of Greenville and Alabama can be proud of," he said.

Haigler says the new location will make Greenville Motor Company the only new car dealership visible from the Interstate between Birmingham and Mobile, a fact that can only help the business, and that he hopes to see Greenville continue to grow.

"We are looking forward to working with all the Greenville business community, especially the fine automobile dealerships already representing Greenville," Haigler said. We feel our new location will better serve our current customers and will draw from a wide area to Greenville."

Fort Deposit Motor Company General Manager, Ken Gibson, echoed Haigler's sentiments about the move to Greenville. He said the move will give his company the opportunity to serve a wider variety of customers, and will make shopping for a car more convenient.

"I think we're going to be good for Greenville and Greenville is going to be good for us," Gibson said. "We want people to start thinking of Greenville as a place to buy a car and we are hoping that people who come in from Red Level, McKenzie and Georgiana will stop in Greenville first."

He said the new dealership will make customers more comortable when shopping for a vehicle and allow his company to display the cars in a more appealing fashion.

"It will take us into the new millenium with a new design and a new approach to the car business," he said. "We are pleased to be selected as a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep Five-Star dealership, which means we have met the highest standards for employee training and customer satisfaction and our customers can expect the best in sales and service satisfaction."

Gibson said the dealership inventory will be expanded to about 200 new cars representing Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep products. He said about 100 used cars will also be available.

"We look forward to continuing the Fort Deposit Motor Company tradition in a new location with the new name of Greenville Motor Company," he said.