Deacon's Chrysler Jeep Dealership Built on Service
Family business has been around for 48 years
Deacon’s, “The dealership that service built,” dodged a bullet in May 2009, when Chrysler LLC decided to put a quarter of its dealerships out of business. “We were a little on edge in 2009. We were fortunate to survive that time,” president Jim Deacon said.
“We’ve always taken care of our customers, and that’s what saved us.”
Just two years later, expansion is the word around the 48-year-old Mayfield Village business. The dealership boasts 16 new models in the 2011 Chrysler and Jeep lines, and hopes to add Dodge cars and Ram trucks after renovations.
“We hope to build a new showroom with separate areas for each line, plus a service write-up area,” he said. The planning process has begun, and Deacon hopes to begin work by spring 2012. “It’s a lengthy process,” he said, “a lot of work.”
Leasing, which all but disappeared in August 2008, is coming back strong. “Forty-six percent of our new car business is leasing,” he said. “If you lease a car every three years you can get along with one set of tires and one set of brakes.”
Deacon learned the workings of the dealership from childhood, under the eye of his father and uncle, twins Dick and Bob Deacon, who bought the dealership in 1963. But he tried the corporate world for six years, armed with a degree in mechanical engineering, before his father lured him back to the dealership.
“It’s a dynamic business,” Jim Deacon said. “That’s the fun part, the new models every year. It’s a lot more fun to sell than insurance.”
As for him, he’s happy to drive just about anything that comes in on trade. “It’s one benefit of owning a car dealership,” Deacon said. “If I need a minivan, there it is. A pickup truck? There it is.”
His cousin Tom Deacon is vice president of the enterprise, and Dick and Bob Deacon have stayed on as consultants.