McSweeney Chevy GMC opens doors, holds grand opening in Clanton

Published 9:45 am Monday, May 20, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Michael and Matt McSweeney have taken their next step in growing their family business by opening McSweeney Chevrolet GMC in Clanton. The brother duo took over the Stokes Automotive building right off of Exit 212 on Interstate 65, and welcomed the Chilton County community with a grand opening on May 15.

The McSweeney’s father created the business in the 1970s working with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to upfit specialty vehicles, and the brothers grew up working in the business learning the ins and outs.

“We grew up in the automotive business, but on the specialty vehicle manufacturing side of the business versus retail,” Michael McSweeney said. “We grew that business, and we built off-road trucks, shuttle buses, we built a few presidential armored vehicles, and so that is the side that we grew up in.”

Then in 2017, the McSweeneys got into the retail side of the business by acquiring Bill Stanford Automotive in Talladega, and they moved the dealership a short time later to Pell City.

“That was our entrance into retail, but we have only been in the dealership side since then, so rather new,” McSweeney said. “It is a part of our family business that we wanted to continue to grow.”

The family knew Stokes Automotive owner Kirk Stokes after doing business between each other for many years. Years ago, they told Stokes that when he was ready to sell the business and retire to let them know first, because they would be very interested in buying it. The location right off of a major U.S. highway, and the Clanton community aligning with their business’ values such as hard work, were attractive reasons to pursue purchasing the business and building. The McSweeneys are also excited about the growth that central Alabama, and in Chilton County specifically, has been seeing in recent years as well.

In early 2023, Stokes gave them a call and said he was ready to sell, and the McSweeneys jumped at the opportunity.

“We just want to do the right thing, and I think that is aligned with the Clanton community,” McSweeney said. “It is a community that we thought it would be nice to have a business in, to build on the foundation the Stokes family has built and we respect them tremendously.”

The dealership has been completely remodeled on the inside, and the plans are to remodel the outside as well to appear like a traditional Chevrolet store does today. Along with Chevy and GMC options, the dealership will also have Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram vehicles on the lot as well, offering a wide range of choices.

At the grand opening, the dealership welcomed dozens of Chilton County delegates and residents onto the showroom floor to share their progress and future goals with the business with the community.

“We feel like it is a great store and location today, but that growth rate (in central Alabama) is projected to continue, and we hope to benefit from that too,” McSweeney said. “In the retail car business, everyone is selling the same things for the same price, so we feel like our opportunity to make a difference is to focus on the relationships and the people.”