The Holley signs came down Tuesday at Brownwood’s General Motors auto dealership, and the Bruner signs went up.
It’s a new owner and new name for the longtime Brownwood business.
That’s Bruner as in Bruner Auto Group in Stephenville, which completed the purchase Monday of the Holley dealership.
“We’re pleased to be there,” Dwain Bruner, dealer and secretary of Bruner Auto Group, said by phone Tuesday from Stephenville. “We did get everything wound up with John (Holley) yesterday. Everything’s bright (for) the future.”
Bruner had confirmed in December that the Stephenville business was having “ongoing talks” with John Holley, president of the Holley Auto Group.
In January, Holley announced a sales purchase and interim operating agreement with Dwain and Greg Bruner. The Bruner family took over management of the Holley dealership at that time.
“When this first came up, we were really excited,” Dwain Bruner said in a written statement Tuesday. “We’ve always had a great relationship with the Holleys and we knew Brownwood would be a great fit for our hometown style of business.”
The new Bruner Auto Group will be a mixture of familiar and new faces, the written statement said.
“The best part about our operation here is that we are staffed by local folks,” said Greg Bruner. “Much of our management team everyone already knows.” He said The Bruner Auto Group will quickly be known for the same things as Bruner Motors in Stephenville: “local people to serve our customers and the best deals around. Our greatest focus is on customer service and making sure everyone who walks through our doors gets the treatment they deserve. We want to provide a place all of our customers can be proud of.”
Management team members from the Holley organization include Tony Curtis, Benny Williams, Maryanne Fletcher, Jody Roberts, Ervin Bates and Woody Metts. New faces include Elisa Porter, Buddy Reynolds and new general manager Jim Stanley.
“Our team’s experience is part of what got me so excited about coming here,” said Stanley, who for 11 years was president and general manager of an Allen Samuals Auto Group dealership in Lakeland.
“The other part that attracted me to the Bruner Auto Group is this area itself,” Stanley said. “This town has been incredible.”
The process of purchasing a dealership often takes many months of negotiation and transition, the statement said.
“I think this comes at a really great time for us and for Brownwood,” said Greg Bruner. “ … We’re very big on building community and shopping locally.”
The Bruners have been doing business in Erath County for more than 38 years. The Bruner Auto Group is a full-line GM dealership, and Bruner Toyota is a full-service facility for Toyota.
The Bruner family has been in the new car business since the 1930s, originating in Kerens. Since, other operations have been in Wolfe City, Stephenville and Glen Rose. The current dealerships, opened in 1969, are full-line GM and DaimlerChrysler franchise new car dealerships.
Holley Auto traces its history to 1914 when J.R. “Bob” Holley left the teaching profession to open an automobile dealership in Lampasas. The Brownwood dealership was opened in 1931 when J.R. Holley moved here with his family. His son Wilton Holley became the Chevrolet dealer in 1957, and John Holley became part of the family business in 1976. He joined his father as a GM dealer in 1984.
The Holley dealership was the third oldest family-owned auto dealer in Texas and one of the oldest in the nation.