By Adam Smith
At a time when some car dealerships are still struggling to make a sale, the Champion automotive group in Athens and Decatur is thriving.
Champion not only operates separate Chevrolet and Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealerships in Athens, the group opened a Chrysler Dodge and Jeep dealership in Decatur less than two months ago.
Owner Jeff Hamm said the Champion group — located at 9210 South Clinton Street — has operated in Athens for 28 years and has a staff of 71 employees. More workers will be hired in the coming months to fill gaps left from transferring workers to the Decatur location.
He said 2010 saw an increase in opportunities, return on investment and total revenues, but he believes 2011 will be even more successful.
“We’ve got great new products from Chevrolet and Chrysler-Dodge,” Hamm said. “The Equinox is outstanding, and we’ll soon have the new Camaro convertible.”
He said the Champion group probably serves about 1,500 customers per month, through a combination of sales, service and parts.
“I just have a passion for the business,” Hamm said. “I love to interact with so many people and so many departments. What keeps me going is that opportunity.”
Champion has an online presence through championchevrolet.net and championchryslerdodge.net, but has not yet delved into the world of social media. That may soon change, however.
“(Chevrolet) has had several meetings about how to get people more involved in social media,” Hamm said. “I understand that may be a direction we’re coming to.”