First Lee County new car dealership opens - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

First Lee County new car dealership opens

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June 22, 2004

Lee County -- Another sign of growth Tuesday in Lee County, while Dougherty County sees more of its tax base move out of the county.

 Fairway Toyota becomes Lee County's first ever new car dealership. And provides a big boost to the Lee County economy.

Fairway Toyota cuts the ribbon to open its 31 million dollar dealership, turning away from Dougherty County's Auto Row, moving north to Lee County. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brad Lofton said "This has just become the epicenter for a lot of commercial growth."

The payoff is already showing. Fairway is the number one Toyota dealership in sales this month in the Panhandle Region of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. Lynch said "The month of May we sold more Toyotas than we ever have since being in business."

That is good news for Lee County taxpayers. With an estimated 40 million dollars in sales, Fairway Toyota should provide 100-thousand dollars a month in county taxes. Lofton said "A large momentum for our special purpose local option sales tax projects. It will be an incredible boost to our board of education for all of their school SPLOST projects."

Fairway owner Bob Lynch built the 24,000 square foot building on four acres next to the Super Wal-Mart, that also moved from Dougherty County to Lee. While moving into their new building, the dealership broke all their sales records and has already hired more employees. Lynch said "We've had to increase our sales staff,and we've had to add a couple of service technicians to account for the growth already."

County Commissioner Eddie Hinman said "Now we have our first golf course, our first new car dealership, and hopefully we will have the first of a lot more things."

 Lee County still has 15 acres of land around Wal-Mart and Fairway Toyota ready for development...and their success should make it hot property.

Fairway Toyota had 25 million dollars in sales last year in Dougherty County. They currently have 55 employees.

posted at 3:55 pm by jimw@walb.com

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