Brownwood’s Ford dealership is gaining a new owner and a new name.

Diane Winn, a commercial banking lender from Dallas, is buying the dealership from James Mears, who said he is selling on the advice of his doctors after owning the business for less than a year.

Mauri Peyton of Dallas, who has been in the auto business for 25 years, is managing partner in the dealership, which will operate as Big Country Ford Lincoln Mercury.

Winn and Peyton will assume their new roles on Sept. 15.

For Winn, the purchase represents her first venture in the auto business. She said she is already looking for ways to become involved in the community.

“We plan on being very visible in the community,” she said. “We look forward to the opportunity, that’s for certain.”

The dealership has about 30 employees.

“We’re going to retain the staff that’s here and complete what (Mears) has already started,” Peyton said. “We will have much more inventory, new and used.

“The good thing about this store — it’s Ford. We should be able to (become) one of the top Ford stores.”

Mears bought the dealership through bankruptcy court in December 2006 and operated it as Mears Ford Lincoln Mercury.

Mears, who owns an auto dealership in Lubbock, said he is returning with his family to Lubbock following the death in March of his wife, Cherry.

“I regret moving at this time, but the physicians deemed it a necessity,” Mears said. “I think they have a wonderful opportunity here. It was a wonderful opportunity for me when I bought it.”