Buddy Carver, general manager of Prince Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC, was at the new dealership facility at 2701 Ledo Road on Saturday, helping to complete the move from South Slappey Boulevard. Carver called the new facilities “state of the art.” (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — It was moving day on Saturday for Prince Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC from their home of more than 40 years on South Slappey Boulevard in Albany to their new location at 2701 Ledo Road near Walmart and across from Carmike Cinema.
While situated now in Lee County, Prince General Manager Buddy Carver said the switch from Dougherty was just the way things worked out.
“We wanted to go where the traffic was, and the growth,” Carver said. “We’d have been just as happy in Dougherty County. This geographic area is where we knew we wanted to be and so we were looking for property which would or would not necessary be in Lee County.”
The real point of the move, Carver said, was to serve more people, and to serve them through a more modern, state-of-the-art sales and service facility.
According to Carver, the Slappey facility was created in 1972 when Paul Wallace owned Wallace Chevrolet. When Wallace retired almost four years ago, the Prince organization purchased the property. Forty years later, the sales lot — and especially the service area — had grown increasingly slow and inefficient, Carver said, and now the goal is to provide a “true modern-day experience” for customers.
“In service now, when customers drive onto our new facility they’ll be pulled into a climate-controlled room,” Carver said. “They won’t be parked out in the rain or the hot sun or the freezing cold.”
Perhaps the greatest advantage for customers at the new Prince dealership is not their own increased convenience, but the comfort of the auto mechanics themselves.
“In our old shop, in the summer time we had temperatures hitting 110 degrees or 115 degrees,” Carver said. “These (mechanics) got extremely fatigued in the afternoons so it took longer to get things done. This shop will be air conditioned so they’ll be able to work more efficiently.”
The Prince dealership is owned by John Prince III, Carver says, with corporate headquarters in Tifton —a city where the Prince group sells Chevrolets, Toyotas, Hondas, Volvo trucks and Peterbuilts. In addition, Prince has a Chevy, Buick, GMC store in Valdosta, a Ford dealership in Douglas and a Peterbuilt store in Albany.
“Mr. Prince is a tremendous businessman,” Carver said. “He plans out his marketing strategy and he’s been successful in his efforts. Yes, I think he probably did have expansion in mind when he bought (Wallace Chevrolet), though not necessarily at this particular location. His commitment to this community, as well as (our) other communities, is ‘we’re going to be here.’”