Mississippi Auto Direct dealership takes over old East Honda facility

Published 12:10 am Sunday, November 2, 2014

NATCHEZ — The location and size of former Natchez car dealership East Honda was too great for Brad Yarbrough to pass up.

That’s why the owner and general manager of Natchez Ford began negotiating the purchase of the lot nearly 30 days ago.

The sale finalized Friday. Beginning today, the lot will be a Mississippi Auto Direct pre-owned car dealership.

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“I think it’s an ideal location because it’s inviting to Louisiana as well as Mississippi customers, and I’ve actually been looking for a large facility to put a large, high inventory pre-owned car lot.”

Yarbrough, who declined to comment on specifics regarding the sale, said he would be retaining all 10 employees and plans to hire 15 to 20 additional employees in the near future as the facility expands.

Service on all makes and models will continue at the lot, Yarbrough said, including those current Honda vehicles under factory warranty.

“We will try to help them get warranty work done by facilitating with other dealers,” Yarbrough said. “We don’t want them to feel like they’re being left out.”

Yarbrough said the decision to not continue the Honda franchise at the John R. Junkin Drive lot was one he thought long about.

“The fact that the Honda franchise doesn’t have a pick-up truck was a big factor for us, because that’s 50 percent of the total sales new and used,” Yarbrough said. “So when you don’t have that to offer the consumers, you just lost half of the total market, and that was a huge factor in making that decision.”

Yarbrough said the exterior of the building will receive a fresh coat of paint and renovations inside will follow, including new bathrooms and other amenities.

“That with some new signage, will make it look very much like a new car franchise,” Yarbrough said.

The lot will not close during the renovations.

Yarbrough said Natchez resident Sean Waggoner, who partnered with Yarbrough in the deal and is currently operating the Mississippi Auto Direct on U.S. 61 South, would be in charge of the day-to-day operations at the new facility.