New dealership opens in old Lakeside Ford location

Published 1:27 am Sunday, August 26, 2007

When Lakeside Ford moved to its new location in the fall of 2006, the original building stood empty. But instead of seeing the shell of a former dealership, Brad Yarbrough — owner and general manager of Natchez Ford — saw a chance to act on a longtime dream.

And for a month now, that dream has taken shape in the form of Performance Dodge, a Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealership.

The dealership has been open since the beginning of August.

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“I worked for a Dodge-Chrysler dealership in Atlanta, and I always liked their products,” Yarbrough said. “I always wanted to sell their products.”

While Yarbrough is the owner, the general manager and operating partner at Performance Dodge is Bobby Derrick.

The entire operation took about six months from its conception to its fruition, Yarbrough said.

“It was a really ideal situation,” he said. “Because that building had previously been used as a dealership, it allowed me to get the building approved quickly with Chrysler.”

Since its opening, the dealership has already surpassed the timeline the owners set for it before it opened, Yarbrough said.

“Things are going extremely well,” he said. “We are well ahead of our goals so far.”

And things look to be even better.

“There’s a large market in this area for the Jeep product, and no dealer is really pushing it,” he said. “But if you look around, they’re (Jeep products) all over this area.”

The philosophy behind Performance Dodge is simple, Yarbrough said.

“We want to offer the Miss-Lou a dealership focused on value pricing for the customers,” he said.

The plan to stick with that goal is to keep the business’ overall overhead to a minimum so they can sell the cars for less, Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough said he expects his customers to be a 50-50 mix of people from Natchez and the Ferriday-Vidalia area.

Though the dealership already has a financing program in place, Yarbrough said he would like to expand it.

“We would like to have a finance company in place that will be able to help people who have not been able to get cars at other dealerships,” he said.

Most of all, Yarbrough wants the dealership to live up to its name.

“We’re named ‘Performance,’ and we want to emphasize the fun side of owning a high-performance automobile,” he said.