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Franklin Family business success story related by Sue Stivers

Executive Director Sue Stivers wrote an introduction for the corporate sponsor of the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce meeting on October 17, 2006, which drew high praise. With her permission, the tribute is reprinted in
By Sue Stivers

Our corporate sponsor for the month is the Don Franklin Ford-Mercury-Nissan Dealership, which is owned by Don Franklin, along with his sons, Eddie and Dan Franklin.

I am an example of why the Don Franklin Dealerships are so successful. Dan Franklin, one of the Chamber Board members, was to make the remarks about the business today, but the first thing I knew, he had me agreeing to do this for him.

A Big Thank You from Don Franklin Ford-Nissan, Don, Barbara, Eddie, and wife Lillie; Dan and wife, Melinda, for Everyone Coming today.

Don Franklin began career as mechanic for Adair Motors Ford

Don Franklin started out working as a mechanic for Louis Merkley and Morris Epperson when they owned the Adair Motors Ford dealership. He started his own business in 1964 as Dn's Auto Sales, selling used cars. His wife, Barbara, joined him in the administrative end of the business and they watched their business grow.

In 1982, the Franklins purchased the Ford dealership from the Flowers family in Columbia. They had owned it since 1967, and at that time they employed six eople and had an average inventory of 35 cars.Today, it's a family owned business in which Don, Eddie, and Dan work along with their wives, Barbara, Lillie, and Melinda Franklin.

Eddie and Dan played and grew up in the business. Even when they were going to school at the University of Louisville, they commuted three days a week and worked the other three days in the business. So, needless to say, they know the business well.

Don has seen an enormous amount of growth and change. Not only has the business grown, but the Family has grown. He and Barbara are the proud grandparents of five gransons. They all make up The Team, and what a team it is. It's truly a family business.

The Ford-Mercury dealership is located at 536 Hudson Street in Columbia.

The Family bought Burdette Motors in 1992

In 1992, the Franklin family purchased the Burdette Motor Company in Jamestown, KY, a long time Chevrolet/Pontiac/dealership, from Billy Burdette, who had the dealership for 43 years. In 1995, they purchased the HWY 80 Auto Auction Building, remodeled it, and moved the dealership from Jamestown to Russell Springs in order to expand the business.

In 1994, they built a new building and moved the Nissan Dealership to Columbia, located at 705 Jamestown Street.

The Franklins now have average inventory of 550 cars, employ 50 people

Today the Franklins have an average of 550 vehicles and employ 50 people.

In 2005, Don Franklin Ford Mercury earned Ford Motor Company's highest honor, the 2005 President's Award. This award is earned by an elite group. Only 404 out of 5,021 received this award. It was given for outstanding sales and service excellence, continued sales growth, and training excellence.

Earning the award is a reflection of the entire staff's commitment to delivering the best customer service possible. But Don is quick to point out that while they were proud to receive the recognition, that it was the people, their customers, that they value most. He said, "Our customers are why we were able to achieve the award. He also praised son Dan for his efforts in making this happen.

There are so many thing I would like to tell you about the Franklin family, but time does not permit. However, I want to mention briefly some things you may not know about the Franklin Family.

Family exhibits caring and giving spirit

They have always been actively involved in the community, sharing their time and resources. I've always been amazed by their giving and caring spirit of helping people less fortunate than we are, how they have supported Lindsey Wilson College financially, and the role they have played in the beautification of our City.

Yesterday as I talked with Don Franklin, he made it clear that, even though his family had worked hard, his success was from the blessings of the Lord. And that he rated his priorities as God, family, and then his business.

Don Franklin Ford and Franklin Nissan would like to thank all their past customers and they look forward to making many new friends and customers in the future.

To the Franklins, on behalf of the Chamber, we thank you for being our Corporate Sponsor of the Month.

This story was posted on 2006-10-19 17:23:16
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At Chamber of Commerce meeting

2006-10-19 - Cranmer Dining Center, Lindsey Wilson College - Photo By Ed Waggener.
FRANKLIN FORD-MERCURY-NISSAN WAS THE CORPORATE SPONSOR for this month's Chamber of Commerce meeting. Pictured above at the meeting are: Dan Franklin and his wife Melinda, winner of their door-prize Randall Banks, Ed Franklin's wife Lillie, and Don's wife Barbara Franklin. Click 'read more' for their story as told by Sue Stivers.

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