John Decker

John Decker Chevrolet sells to Ed Koehn

February 3, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA After serving the community for nearly two-and-a-half decades, John Decker Chevrolet is being sold and will now operate as Ed Koehn Chevrolet. The family-owned dealership, located at 4650 14 Mile Road in Rockford, employs about 20 people, including John Decker’s two sons, JD Jr. and Jason. According to John, the new owners have agreed to secure all employees’ jobs with the exception of himself. “I’ve been made a generous offer to go away,” he said. At 58 years of age, Decker said he has been in the car business since 1974 and opened John Decker Chevrolet in September 1987. Pressures of Michigan’s flagging economy were part of the reason Decker decided to sell. “I’m too young to retire, but I’m not too young to get away from the pressure of doing business in Michigan,” he stated. “I’ve struggled with mortgages and borrowing money just like everyone else.” He said the last couple of years were not what he had hoped. Decker said he sees the future of dealerships as operations like Koehn’s, selling multiple brands with more than one dealership. He said the advantages, from ordering stationary to advertising, give multiple-dealership operations a financial advantage. Decker said he has been in negotiations on and off since last June and at one point had three letters of intent to purchase on his desk at one time. He wanted to dispel rumors of the dealership closing. “I’ve seen others go away like Northland Pontiac and I didn’t want to see that happen,” he said. “Rockford needs a dealership.” “This is a great deal,” Decker said of the sale. He is pleased that his long-term employees, including his boys, will continue to have jobs and said new owners Aaron and Ed Koehn have plans to double the number of jobs the dealership is able to offer. “They anticipate doubling staff by the end of the year,” he said. The dealership has been a strong community and Rockford Chamber of Commerce supporter over the years, annually sponsoring hole-in-one free car contests for the Chamber and other organizations, as well as oil change fundraisers for North Kent Community Services. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know the family: John and his wife Connie and their sons,” said Brenda Davis, […]

You could win free car at Expo

March 11, 2010 // 0 Comments

John Decker can’t wait to give away a free car. This year’s Rockford Chamber of Commerce Community Expo, scheduled for March 20 at Rockford High School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. may be his chance. “There will be very, very good odds,” Decker said of the opportunity that one Expo visitor will walk away with a 2010 Chevy Malibu. Decker said he has been offering a free car for various golf outings for a hole in one and has never given a car away. The winner will be responsible only for the tax, license and insurance costs. Those who walk away without a new car will not leave empty-handed. Four people will win $500 in cash and there will be other prizes throughout the day. Many of the nearly 200 exhibitors will have giveaways or prize drawings. New this year is what visitors will take away in smarts. Throughout the day free educational workshops will be held. Visitors can sit in and learn about real estate investing, financial tips, estate planning, sources of toxins in the home, staying young your first 100 years, and more. “It will all be really good information,” said Brenda Davis, executive director of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. In its sixth year, the Expo is again a sellout for exhibitors, and each year the attendance has increased. Last year just under 11,000 people attended the event. Local celebrities, mascots, live radio remotes, and non-stop entertainment by Rockford students are among attractions. “We have a wonderful community. We are well-supported in all our events, not just Expo,” Davis said of the popularity of the annual event. Starting at 10 a.m. and on the hour up to 2 p.m., two entries will be drawn as semifinalist for the free Malibu drawing. Visitors need not be present to be chosen as a semifinalist, but need to be on hand at 2:30 p.m. when the single finalist is chosen. The lucky person will draw from 20 envelopes. Two of the 20 will be matching and indicate the car. If the person draws the right two, they will win the $25,000 vehicle. “These are probably better odds than the golf outing hole-in-one odds,” Decker said. “I really want to give away a car.”