Stokes Automotive prepares for move to I-65

Published 10:14 pm Monday, July 20, 2009

Kirk Stokes hopes to bring more car buyers to Clanton by moving his dealership to Interstate 65.

Stokes Automotive currently operates off Highway 31 but will be moving next month to the intersection of Interstate 65 and Highway 145.

The dealership, which sells several different makes of cars, will be across the Interstate from McKinnon Toyota.

“We hope to build that as a location for car buyers to come to,” said Dana Jones, fixed operations manager. “It draws more customers than if you were spaced out.”

Jones said “car rows” in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Pensacola help boost business for every dealership.

When the store opens Saturday, Aug. 15, it will automatically have more traffic, just in terms of passers-by.

At its Highway 31 location, about 8,600 cars drive by the dealership every day. That number will be 46,000 travelers for Interstate 65 and 10,800 for Highway 145.

“We felt like we would be more visible out there, between two high growth areas in Calera and Prattville,” said Stokes. “We’ll pick up more out-of-town business in this location. I feel like this will be a good location.”

Stokes, father, James H. “Skeeter” Stokes bought Hayes Chevrolet and opened his first dealership in Clanton in 1954. He then moved the business to its current Highway 31 location in 1958.

The store has always sold Chevrolets. It added Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep in 1983, and then Pontiac, Buick and GMC in 1998. Kirk Stokes became dealer in 1986.

Jones said staff members are looking forward to the move.

“There’s a lot of excitement among employees,” said Jones. “Everything is brand new.”

The new dealership will have a Quick Lube service department, Wi-Fi bar, kids area and other amenities.

The new sales lot will open for businesses Saturday, Aug. 15. The service department will open Monday, Aug. 17.

Until then, both operations will continue to do business at the Highway 31 location.