Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2007

By Joanie Morris
Kannapolis CitizenKANNAPOLIS ó One of the oldest car dealerships in Kannapolis has a new shine to it now, thanks to Larry King.
That’s the car dealer, not the bowtie guy on CNN.
“The guy on TV made it popular,” King said of his name.
” ‘Larry King Live’ ó he probably made it a whole lot more popular than I did.”
King, a native of South Carolina, has been in the car business for more than 25 years and recently bought Beasley-Cross Chevrolet on South Cannon Boulevard. A cheerful fellow with an eager smile, he greets customers as they walk in the door, ready to lead them to the sales staff that will help them find their next vehicle.
“I was able to purchase my first dealership about six years ago in Hillsborough,” King said. Ever since, he had been looking to buy a second dealership. When he heard about Beasley-Cross Chevrolet, “this one seemed like an ideal dealership.”
“Great growth,” King said of the dealership. “Plus, we liked the area.”
King was especially impressed with the city employees, who made sure he got all the right permits for the business.
He has a few things he wants to change about the dealership.
“The biggest thing I see right now is I need a few more employees,” King said. “Our inventory needs to be a lot bigger.”
He will add to the variety of used cars for sale. He’s already got a Hummer and other used specialty vehicles to go with a larger Chevrolet selection.
He also extended the dealership’s hours.
“I think the biggest thing here is going to be the experience people have,” King said. “It’s not just about numbers. It’s about people.”
You can tell he believes it as customers come onto the lot. He could let sales staff greet them ó and does ó but always has a minute for a quick hello himself.
“I just think when a new owner comes in, you really just have to get people focused on doing things a little bit differently, and hopefully a little bit better,” King said. “Get them focused on customer retention and customer satisfaction.”
King and his family lived in South Carolina earlier. There, they used to travel to the Charlotte area to shop and visit various restaurants. Venturing into Kannapolis is like coming home for them, he said.
“We liked this area so much, we are going to move our permanent residence here,” King said. While they are waiting for their home in Durham to sell, King and his wife are renting in the area. “There’s so much happening here. The growth. The Research Campus coming. It’s just such a nice area …
“It has small town attitude but big city convenience,” King said. “The people are so helpful, so friendly.”
King said the most exciting thing about any big move is learning the community. “Finding a church, finding all the good restaurants,” he said. “My wife is a map specialist. We can go anywhere as long as she’s got a map.”
The new hours at Larry King Chevrolet are 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The dealership is closed Sundays. Service and parts departments are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or