Jones Ford hasn’t moved from the corner of Rivers Avenue and Remount Road since 1967, yet employees and customers would be hard pressed to recognize the property’s new look.
“The only Jones location is right here where you are right now,” David Walters, president, said at an Oct. 13 ribbon cutting, flanked by portraits of dealership patriarchs J. Robertson Paul and Cadwallader “Quaddy” Jones. Walters officially unveiled the brand new Jones Ford showroom and revamped vehicle service center.
“It’s wonderful,” said Lucy Jones, the founder’s widow.
The understated ceremony capped a wave of improvements in the past few years. Jones Ford this week introduced the final of four new buildings on its grounds at 5757 Rivers Ave., a modernistic 21,900-square-foot showroom and service operation facing the highway.
The glass-enclosed building also houses sales offices, a parts department and customer service wing as well as adminstrative offices, conference rooms and a break area upstairs.
Three operations that opened in December are also part of the multi-acre complex.
They include a 400-foot-long building alongside Interstate 26 that houses a truck service shop, 18-bay collision center and three paint booths. The 34,000-square-foot operation is the only Ford place in metro Charleston that can work on aluminum bodies such as the best-selling F-150 pickup.
An eight-bay 5,434-square-foot Ford Quick Lane location deals with in-and-out tune-ups and repairs. And a new 902-square-foot detailing center also sets aside space where vehicles are photographed for Internet marketing.
In January, crews tore down the existing showroom, which opened in 1967.
Jones Ford’s employees kept on the job as construction crews steered 300-ton cranes to lift gigantic 80,000-pound panels, fitted fastenings and bolts and gussied up interiors all around them.
“We had to move around mess and confusion,” Walters told family, guests and employees at the grand opening.
Parts staff powered through a freezing cold winter without heat and 100 degree summer temperatures with no air conditioning, he said.
The new showroom and service facility is Jones Ford’s crowning achievement, replacing an aged structure with a two-story architectural wonder illuminated at night and crafted from state-of-the-art materials.
Walters credited LS3P Architects and Choate Construction with overseeing the multimillion dollar, 17-month project.
The dealership’s 93 employees now work out of a four-building complex totaling 87,904 square feet.
“Our goal is to give our neighbors in North Charleston great service,” Walters said, noting that the company plans to build on 48 years of service with “another 48 years to come.”
The signature showroom, boasting silver-tinted exterior and open interior, stands as “one of the most beautiful buildings in the Carolinas,” said Richard Cooper, vice president.
“We have needed to upgrade for a very long time,” he said.
Various obstacles delayed improvements, including the widening of adjacent I-26.
Paul launched a car dealership downtown in 1918, the first Ford outlet in the Charleston area. His son-in-law Jones would employ assets from the Paul Motor Co. business to set up Jones Ford in North Charleston. Later, Jones’ sons-in-law Walters and Cooper, both graduates of The Citadel, served as managers and now owners of the popular dealership.
David Walters Jr., general sales manager and owner, is heir apparent as president when his father, 70, retires.
“It’s exciting,” Walters Jr. said of the new facility, noting the first meetings with contractors and designers took place three years ago.
The senior Walters said the new Jones Ford is “more accessible” to customers. “We thank them for their patience.”
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey recalls as a young adult driving by Paul Motor downtown checking out the new Mustangs. “You are officially open,” Summey said, as he cut the ribbon at the remade Jones Ford.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.