Local car dealership under new ownership after 52 years of business
REXBURG – After 52 years of business, Erickson GMC in Rexburg is under new ownership.
Local businessman John Adams purchased the business from owners Neil and Eric Erickson last Friday. Neil tells EastIdahoNews.com Adams initially approached them about buying the business a couple of years ago, but until recently, it wasn’t something they were even considering.
“We looked at the deal and decided now was the time to do it,” Neil says. “It allows us to do a few things we haven’t been able to do, but would like to do. We don’t have any sons who were interested in taking over the business, so sooner or later, this would have happened.”
Adams says the name and reputation Erickson has acquired over the years is the reason why he wanted to purchase the business and first approached the owners several years ago.
“The Erickson family and I have been visiting for the last few months. I’ve been bothering Eric for a couple years now asking if he’d be willing to sell. They just weren’t ready to go. I decided to try one more time in December and he said we’d like to sit down and talk,” Adams says.
Erickson GMC was created in 1968 by Neil’s father, Rex Erickson. In those days, the dealership sat on Third West and had just two employees: a mechanic and a salesman. Later, it moved a block east to 221 West 4th South. Brigham Young University-Idaho student apartments are currently located at both of those locations.
Neil and Eric came on board in 1981 and have been with it ever since. In 2001, they decided to expand and moved to their current location at 890 West Main Street. Neil and Eric took over operations several years later when Rex decided to step down.
“I’m really grateful for a dad who saw our potential and allowed us to come into the business and gave us the opportunity to serve the community the way that we did,” Neil says.
Since last Friday’s purchase of the business, Adams says the employees already feel like family and will remain a critical part of the business. He is also planning to gradually bring on more staff as they ramp up sales on their new and used inventory.
“We’re going to focus on becoming a high volume GMC dealership, meaning we’re going to beat anyone else’s deal there is in the valley and show Rexburg what a volume dealer is like,” Adams says.
In December, Adams stepped down as general manager of Tadd Jenkins Chevrolet in Rigby after five years. Prior to that, he was the general manager of Bish’s RV. He grew up in Pocatello and got his first job as a mechanic at Cole Chevrolet. That’s when he decided he wanted a career in sales.
“I’ve always enjoyed talking to people and I get along with people, and the used car manager (at Cole Chevrolet) said ‘Come and give sales a try,’ Adams says. “I stuck it out and I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Neil credits the longevity of Erickson GMC to the service they’ve provided to customers over the years and the hard work and dedication of the employees. The employees, customers and thrill of the deal are what he will miss most.
“There’s nothing like watching somebody get a new car. For some, it’s the first car. For others, it’s one of many cars. But it’s something brand new and they’re excited about it. There’s not much out there that people buy that gets them that excited. I’ve really enjoyed that.”
The car market has stayed pretty consistent over the years, Adams says, and the current marketplace is strong. The relationships with the customers and the employees are the most satisfying parts of the job for him.
Both Neil and his brother are planning to serve missions for their church and spend time with their grandchildren.
“The community accepted us and has been really good to us over the years,” says Neil. “We can tell (John) will carry on what we have done thus far.”
During this time of transition, Adams says he wants to continue the legacy that the Erickson’s started 52 years ago.
“I want to make sure I follow through with everything I promised, continue the legacy of what the Erickson’s started so many years ago, and just add to it — make it a little better,” Adams says.
The official name change will take place in early August with new storefront signage and will coincide with a grand opening celebration of John Adams GMC. An exact date has not yet been determined.
John Adams GMC is right off U.S. Highway 20 off Exit 333 in Rexburg. Its hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.