ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After a food service business didn’t go as planned, Jason Fetters was looking for an opportunity to get back in the auto business in which he grew up.
He just didn’t realize that it would take him from his native Ohio to Albuquerque.
But when That Car Place came up for sale, it was just the thing Fetters was seeking and in October he took over the dealership that has been in operation since 1976.
“Everything just dropped perfectly into place,” he said.
Fetters, who helped his father out in the garage getting dragsters ready for the drag strip, first worked in an auto-parts store, then opened his own mechanic’s shop.
When he got back into the business, he wanted a dealership that also had a service aspect to it.
“I was just trying to put together a complete package,” he said. “I wanted to be able to service the vehicles and know that the customers are being well taken care of.”
Fetters was actually hoping to get a dealership that also included towing service, but that end of things hasn’t yet materialized.
For now, however, he’s pretty satisfied with That Car Place and with his transition into sales.
“It hasn’t been hard to sell,” Fetters said. “I’m a real person and I treat people the same way I would like to be treated. If people like the way they are treated, they will come back.”
And while he took over a dealership that had enjoyed a strong reputation under former owners Ladd and Bobbi Johnson, “You have to earn a good a reputation,” he said.
The Johnsons are still in the picture, helping with the transition, Fetters said.
“They’re great people,” he said. “They haven’t deserted me.”
The Johnsons built up a specialty in Jeeps, and Fetters said he sees no reason not to continue that.
“We have other vehicles, as well,” he said. “But at any one time, we’ll have 10 to 20 Jeeps on the lot.”
Other four-wheel-drive vehicles are also in plentiful supply, Fetters said.