GREEN — Two luxury car brands are headed to the Green Auto Mile at a planned new Kempthorn Motors dealership.
Kempthorn Motors is constructing a dealership featuring Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles on the southwest corner of East Turkeyfoot Lake Road (state Route 619) and Fortuna Drive, where the former Chapel Hill School was torn down several years ago.
Excavation is expected to begin Aug. 1, and work on the 22,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in 12 to 13 months, Kempthorn President and CEO Eric Kempthorn said.
Located at 1449 Cleveland Ave. NW in Canton, Kempthorn has been an automotive sales and service staple in the Pro Football Hall of Fame city for 80 years, since its founding by James Kempthorn.
Canton war hero and civic leader Dick Kempthorn became the dealership’s head from the early 1950s until his passing in February at age 92.
The sprawling business is now led by brothers Eric and Jim Kempthorn and sister Dana Kempthorn Parker.
Kempthorn will maintain its Canton facilities with Volkswagen, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, but the Jaguar division, at Kempthorn for 30 years, will be relocated to the new Green facility and partnered with Land Rover.
“Canton is not the open point for Land Rover so Land Rover wasn’t going to be allowed by the manufacturer to be here in Canton. So our only choice was to take Jaguar to Akron with the Land Rover," Eric Kempthorn said.
“It was decided during our discussions to move Jaguar out of Canton and put it together with Land Rover. And being on the Green Auto Mile was really a decision by everyone that’s the best location to go. We were invited to the Green Auto Mile party so I guess we are a part of it,” he said, smiling.
“We loved the brand and also the location. It is just a natural market for us to be in, so we are excited to go up there.”
Craven Construction of Akron will be the general contractor. Kempthorn declined to discuss the project’s estimated cost.
“The city of Green has been absolutely a wonderful partner in this project. They have worked with us on every step of the way,” Kempthorn said.
He said the planned Green facility, “is very much the design and architecture from Jaguar. We have to build it, but they designed it. We are a huge fan of the quality and styling of both Jaguar and Land Rover, and we want to get up there as soon as possible.”
Kempthorn said the new dealership will have new and used car sales as well as full service and parts departments, with support from the Canton facility’s large new body shop.
Some personnel already have been identified as going to the new location when it's completed, while others will be assigned to Green shortly before the dealership opens, he said.
Kempthorn stressed that the dealership “is very much a team effort with my sister and brother. We all three work at this just as hard to keep the legacies of our father and grandfather alive. I may be the president, but they are every bit a part of the business as I am.”
“We certainly attribute our longevity to our amazing employees and the vision that dad had years ago that service was the most important part of the car business," he added. “We have made service a priority and sales an easy and simple process. I think this is what has led to our success over 80 years.”
George W. Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.