Covington Ford has come a long way during its 70 years in business, officially celebrating the opening of its new dealership on the Covington ByPass Road, complete with its eye-catching, window-laden front entrance.
When Covington Ford opened in the midst of World War II, the dealership couldn't get a new car until five years later, said Don Conroy, Ford's regional sales manager. The large parking lot is now packed with new cars.
In addition to placing an emphasis on aesthetics, Owner Wendell Crowe made it a priority to have the 25,000-square-foot building certified LEED Silver. LEED is a third-party certification program run by the U.S. Green Building Council and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. This is the first LEED-certified Ford dealership in the nation.
The building uses 35 percent less energy and water than a traditional dealership, has 60 percent of its waste diverted from a landfill and was made of 20 percent recycled materials; 10 percent of the materials were from the local region, said Michael Swick with the U.S. Green Building Council of Georgia.
Crowe thanked longtime customers, some he's had for more than 50 years, such as Homer Sharp Jr., Billy Smith and others. He also thanked his sons Matt and Wes for their help. In the same way that Wendell's father left a legacy to Wendell, Wes said this dealership was the legacy left to the next generation.
Chamber President Hunter Hall thanked the Crowes for their service and dedication to the community, including the money the company donates to local efforts and Wendell's prior service on the chamber's board of directors.
The former location on U.S. Highway 278, which housed Covington Ford for around 50 years, will be torn down soon, Matt said.