Gerry Wood Auto Group finalizes deal with new owner Randy Marion
Published 8:00 pm Monday, March 6, 2023
SALISBURY — A familiar name in the Salisbury auto dealership world is changing, along with ownership, after parties officially agreed to terms on Monday.
Gerry Wood of Gerry Wood Auto Group reached terms with the Randy Marion Auto Group, another prominent Piedmont dealership based in Mooresville, for the latter to obtain Wood’s three Salisbury dealerships on Jake Alexander Boulevard.
In a Monday phone call, Gerry Wood said he and Marion held a meeting in the showroom at the dealership to introduce employees to the new administration.
“It was a moving experience,” Wood said.
The Woods did not plan to sell the dealership until they were blindsided by a severe medical diagnosis last year. Wood’s son, Brad, who was set to take over the dealership, discovered he had stage 4 cancer.
“None of this was planned,” Wood said. “None of it was even remotely on our minds until Brad got sick.”
Wood described his son as the heir apparent for the auto group but remarked that with the strain of treatment, it was just not feasible to stick with the original plans.
It has not been easy for Wood, who called the sale the “hardest thing” he has ever done.
“It has been gut-wrenching to give this up,” Wood said.
However, Wood remains confident that the dealerships will be in good hands.
“Randy (Marion) has a very similar philosophy as me,” Wood said. “We are not in the car business. We are in the people business.”
Marion’s daughter, Jennifer Marion Mills, will reportedly take over at the Salisbury locations.
“She’s going to take over my office in the Honda dealership and will be the overall administrator of the three dealerships,” Wood said.
Signage at the dealerships reflecting the change went up on Monday.
With the acquisitions, the Randy Marion auto collective will now include 13 dealerships.
A long road to get here
Wood immigrated from his native Wales to Canada in the 1960s.
The Gerry Wood Auto Group has been around since 1975 when then-28-year-old owner Gerry Wood purchased a Honda Dealership in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada’s capital province.
He began acquiring his Salisbury holdings in the 1990s. An employee who worked for the previous owners, Mona Overcash, was kept on, a move that Wood indicated has been a huge blessing for the company.
“She has been with me ever since,” Wood said. “She is the comptroller of the three dealerships.”
Much like Overcash, current employees will be retained in their roles.
“Our success is attributed to the great people we have working for us,” Wood said.
Acknowledging that leaving it behind would be challenging, Wood admits that he’s not as healthy anymore as he would like to think he is.
“With my son in his shape and me with serious heart problems, the worst thing that could have happened was staff coming in on a Monday, and something had happened to us,” Wood said.
Tough as it may be, Wood admits it is for the best. He mentioned that he would miss the bridge to the community the dealership has been.
“We love Salisbury and cherish being able to give back to those who have contributed to our success,” Wood said.
Over the years, Gerry Wood Auto Group has contributed to charitable drives in numerous ways, such as donating bicycles to needy children at Christmas and land to Partners In Learning for the organization to build a new facility.
The ability to give back to the area that has given so much to him was a point of pride for Wood. He hopes to continue participating and contributing in other ways now that the auto group has been sold.