Neil Huffman Automotive Group – 50th Anniversary


I met Neil when I was in my early
twenties, he was the biggest catch that there was in Delaware and Westerville
Ohio. We started going out; we just got married.
He always was interested in car business and some of his friends sports cars and
he told me that he wanted to go into the automobile business.
Neil Huffman was a hilarious individual; laid-back,
humorous, easygoing, extremely intelligent; in his presence.
I remember my dad would come home after work and he would study learning
everything he could about how to start his own business. In the beginning of
1968, Neil was offered a chance to become a Volkswagen dealer.
Well, January 1969, I’m a senior in high school;
Neil moves to Louisville, sets up a brand-new startup new point dealership.
It started with Volkswagen here and then over the course of years we added our
Datsun, that turned in a Nissan, store we brought in Mazda and Subaru here. We
brought in Chrysler Dodge and Jeep franchise here, then we brought in the
Honda and Acura store… and then recently the last couple of years we’ve bought
the stores over in Frankfort – the GM Buick, the Nissan store, and in the Honda
store there. It all works – everything worked one step at a time. He
just pat me on the shoulder and say “it’s gonna be okay.”
Well Neil enjoy cars obviously he wouldn’t be in the business and he
didn’t, so he’d love to try the different franchises and stuff but he always came
back to the Volkswagen Beetle. He was very proud of that car. But the ultimate
answer to why he drove that car was is he felt like it had the most room of any
of the cars that he sold and he was a big guy and so he had you know he’d like
to lay his knee up against the the the console of it and that car allowed him
to get in and out of and it was a turbo and so he could whip this little Beetle
in and out of traffic and get in and out of it just fine; but if everybody knew
that little yellow Beetle. We still have the car, it’s sitting on our showroom floor
and it was what he considered his happy car. My grandfather worked in the
community extremely hard I mean he was extremely passionate about children he
always was going out of his way whether to to put food, clothes, education, pay for
education, scholarships for children he was a legend in the area with that
community work. He was probably the nicest, most gentle human being I’ve ever
met. He got along with everybody – always
had a smile – his patience was better than anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. He
could get along with anybody. We still have employees to this day that
have been with us for 40 years that you know he’s a legend to him.
The employees love because of the compassion that he had and the the
involvement that he had and not just their work but their lives. Neil always
believed in being honest and with good manners and respect to his customers
always. They were his world – I mean customers in his eyes were his family I
mean that’s how he treated every customer I mean if you were a Neil
Huffman customer you were Neil Huffman’s family. He became extremely close to a
lot of his customers you know throughout the years repeated customers they would
come to him knock on his door sit in his office and he would talk with him he
would give them the time of day because he appreciated them. The future of our
company – the Neil Huffman Automotive Group – I think is fantastic we have a we have a
very aggressive, very intelligent I don’t know if it’s correct to say young – team
with a lot of young in and behind it so and we are fortunate to have the right
franchises – it has a lot to do with it so I think the future is fantastic. Yes
we could be the big box store but our employees would not be happy and our
customers would not be happy. It’s absolutely incredible what hitting this
50 year anniversary means – to me and when I believe it would mean to my
grandfather. To be able to have a family owned business that was created from the
ground up – from a field – to have the vision that he had to move to Louisville,
Kentucky to start this business 50 years ago and to see us here today five
decades longer, ten franchises strong, 300 plus employees is amazing – it’s something
special.

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