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Business Journal: Crain Kia dealership opens June 18

Posted: June 13, 2014 - 3:25pm
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The Crain Automotive Team is wrapping up construction on its second dealership in Conway. Crain Kia is located on South Amity Road and will open for business on Wednesday, June 18.

Jay Myers will be the general manager of Conway’s new Kia store. Myers is also the general manager of Crain Buick GMC, located on North Museum Road in Conway.

“We are excited about the new facility,” Myers said. “It will be a full-service dealership. The service that you’ve come to expect from Crain Buick GMC will be the same at Crain Kia. Our technicians are certified not only with the manufacturer’s vehicles but with other makes and models as well.”

The state-of-the-art facility spans 28,000 square feet and will carry a full selection of Kia vehicles – from compact cars to full-size SUVs. “Not only does Kia back every vehicle with a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, they are also some of the safest and most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road,” Myers said. “Most of the vehicles have a five-star safety rating and have been awarded with the IIHS [Insurance Institute for Highway Safety] top safety rating. Seven of their models get over 30 mpg.”

The Kia dealership will offer the Crain Automotive Team Commitment: a 100-year, 100,000-mile warranty on every new and used vehicle sold; a 100-hour “love it or leave it” exchange policy; and a 100 percent low price guarantee.

Crain broke ground on the new dealership in August 2013. It is the second Kia dealership for the company; the first is located in North Little Rock, which opened in 2002.

“We believe in the Kia brand and their vision,” said Crain Automotive President Chris Crain. “The product is fantastic; it’s safe, offers the latest in technology, and is competitively priced. We look forward to continued growth in the Conway area.”

Crain Buick GMC is one of the most successful Crain franchises and is among the top 12 Buick GMC dealers in the nation. Jay Myers hopes to continue this success with Crain Kia.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is that we don’t just work in Conway and Faulkner County,” he said. “This is home. Our kids go to school here and play little league and soccer here. We invest in this community because it’s important to us.

“So come see us! The facility is impressive, and Kia makes a great product.”

 

About Crain Automotive

The Crain Companies began as “Paul Crain Wholesale” in Searcy, Arkansas, in the early 1950s. Three generations of Crains joined the family business after graduation from the University of Arkansas, including current president Chris Crain in 1994.

“Mr. Paul,” Larry Crain Sr.’s father, started out “peddling” tire repair items, health and beauty aids, fishing tackle, and other general merchandise out of the trunk of his car. His customers were primarily small-town “mom and pop” grocery stores and service stations.

Crain’s business grew first into a van and later to a small “warehouse” (also his garage). He associated with other peddlers, namely Hartsell Capps and Wendal Pettus. The seat-of-the-pants operation grew up to the time Larry Crain Sr. came on scene in 1966. Larry had graduated from the University of Arkansas with an accounting degree, passed the CPA exam, and worked three years for the Peat Marwick Mitchell accounting firm. He then decided he wanted to go into business for himself.

In 1966, the company – then known as Crain Sales Company – built a sprawling, 10,000-square-feet headquarters on Highway 36 in Searcy, which in an expanded form (50,000-square-feet) served as the company’s headquarters and main distribution facility until July 1992 when the company moved to the new office and warehouse in North Little Rock.

Beginning in the early 1980s, the company saw an industry trend and customer need for freestanding auto stores and opened its first KarPro auto parts store in Searcy. During the 1980s and up until 2000, Crain expanded by acquisition and new locations to more than 16 locations. In September 2000, a majority of the automotive parts distribution facility was merged into the O’Reilly Auto Parts operation.

In 1990, The Crain Companies purchased a Ford Dealership in Benton, Arkansas, and renamed it Freeway Ford Lincoln Mercury. In 1992, a sister dealership in Memphis was purchased and operated as Midway Ford. In 1999, Crain acquired the Landers North Facility from United Auto Group and was awarded the Kia franchise. The Buick GMC dealership in Conway was purchased from Jodie Brown 11 years ago.

Later that year Crain acquired Service Chevrolet Oldsmobile from Cliff Peck, and Crain sold Midway Ford in Memphis to United Auto Group to focus on growing the central Arkansas market. Crain began operating all dealerships under the Crain Automotive Team umbrella as Crain dealerships. Throughout the next decade Crain further expanded the dealership operations to include multiple dealership locations and an RV store.

Led by company President Chris Crain, in January of this year, the Crain Team acquired two Hyundai dealerships in Northwest Arkansas marking their first venture in that part of the state. The company purchased a Buick GMC dealership in Springdale in October 2013. Many stores have been recently relocated or renovated to meet the changing needs of its valued customers.

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