SLC dealership group buys Spradley Barr group in NoCo, Cheyenne

FORT COLLINS — A Salt Lake City-based family auto dealership company has made its first foray into Colorado with the purchase of the Spradley Barr Automotive Group in Northern Colorado.

Ken Garff Automotive Group has purchased Spradley Barr Ford dealerships in Fort Collins and Greeley and will operate under the banners of Ken Garff Ford Fort Collins, and Ken Garff Ford Greeley, respectively, effective today. The dealerships also include the Lincoln line.

Transaction details were not released.

The Colorado dealerships are part of a larger transaction that also included the Spradley Barr Ford, Toyota and Hyundai dealerships in Cheyenne.

Ken Garff, a third-generation family company, has been in a buying spree of late with two dealerships added in Arizona and two additional dealerships added in Texas. The company has 61 stores in all, said Brett Hopkins, CEO, who was in Fort Collins after closing the Colorado and Wyoming transactions Monday morning. Garff also has dealerships in California, Nevada, Iowa and Michigan.

“This entire region is a growing market, and we are proud to make our first entry into Colorado into thriving communities that align with our values,” Hopkins said. “Expanding the Ken Garff footprint will provide excellent vehicle-buying experiences to shoppers in the region.”

Kriss Spradley, co-owner of the selling company, was not available for an interview.

Hopkins said the company has its eyes on a couple of other transactions in the region. “When we go into a market, we like to grow to eight or 10 stores to build a solid employee base for promotions. It takes time to get there,” he told BizWest.

Garff rehired all Spradley Barr employees as of this morning, he said.

Each dealership will have its own general manager, who will report to the regional vice president. Chris Franks, a long-time Garff staff member in Salt Lake, will be that regional VP and will be based out of the Fort Collins Ford dealership.

Responding to a question about what seems like an increase in dealership mergers and acquisitions recently, Hopkins said that activity has been greater nationwide since the pandemic.

“There are 16,800 new car dealers in the country. Many have been in business for a long time; some have succession plans and some don’t. We’re seeing many that don’t have succession plans making the decision to sell since the pandemic,” he said.

“It’s getting more and more difficult to keep up with technological change. Things are changing fast and some are just making the decision to exit now,” he said.

He noted that about 10% of new car dealers are consolidated into larger groups like Ken Garff, leaving a lot of unconsolidated dealerships available for potential acquisition.

The transaction is the latest of several in the region. Ehrlich Motors sold its Toyota dealerships in Greeley and Fort Morgan to McDonald Toyota of Littleton in June. McDonald also bought Ehrlich’s Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealership in Fort Morgan.

In December 2020, the Elway Dealership Group bought Co’s BMW and MINI of Loveland from the Van Herwaarden family. The Elway group had sold its Greeley store to Asbury Automotive Group, also in 2020.

In November 2019, the Tynan’s Nissan and Kia dealerships sold to the Roger Weibel family of Longmont, which has multiple dealerships in Longmont as well as Greeley and Loveland.

The Garff company motto is “we hear you,” Hopkins said. “At one time it [selling cars] was all about talking and the faster you talked the more cars you could sell,” he said. Not any more. “Now, it’s all about listening, and we make a big effort to train our employees to listen.”

John Garff, president of Ken Garff Enterprises, reiterated that. 

“When my grandfather founded Ken Garff Automotive Group in 1932, he built the company on principles of treating people right and creating lifetime customers, which is a practice that lives on today,” he said. 

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

FORT COLLINS — A Salt Lake City-based family auto dealership company has made its first foray into Colorado with the purchase of the Spradley Barr Automotive Group in Northern Colorado.

Ken Garff Automotive Group has purchased Spradley Barr Ford dealerships in Fort Collins and Greeley and will operate under the banners of Ken Garff Ford Fort Collins, and Ken Garff Ford Greeley, respectively, effective today. The dealerships also include the Lincoln line.

Transaction details were not released.

The Colorado dealerships are part of a larger transaction that also included the Spradley Barr Ford, Toyota and Hyundai dealerships in Cheyenne.

Ken Garff, a third-generation family company, has been in a buying spree of late with two dealerships added in Arizona and two additional dealerships added in Texas. The company has 61 stores in all, said Brett Hopkins, CEO, who was in Fort Collins after closing the Colorado and Wyoming transactions Monday morning. Garff also has dealerships in California, Nevada, Iowa and Michigan.

“This entire region is a growing market, and we are proud to make our first entry into Colorado into thriving communities that align with our values,” Hopkins said. “Expanding the Ken Garff footprint will provide excellent vehicle-buying experiences to shoppers in the region.”

Kriss Spradley, co-owner of the selling company, was not available for an interview.

Hopkins said the company has its eyes on a couple of other transactions in the region. “When we go into a market, we like to grow to eight or 10 stores to build a solid employee base for promotions. It…