Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Owner not responding to questions about what is happening
An empty car lot was what Mt. Pleasant residents were met with last week. The Crown Motor Group dealership was void of any vehicle on its lot.
“We known that they’re closed, but we haven’t heard anything else other than that,” Mt. Pleasant Chamber Director of Membership Allison Jacobs said. “We’ve tried to reach out to the owner to see what’s going on, if they’re going to sell or something else, but we haven’t gotten an answer.”
The Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce is not the only one looking for answers. People in the community have taken to Facebook to vent their frustrations on the dealership’s silence of the situation. One user voiced his displeasure with the phone system, stating no one answered the phone, and another was worried about lifetime warranties.
Crown Motor Group and its owner, Kelly Barnett, has declined to comment on the situation.
Mt. Pleasant Mayor Steve Brimhall had some concerns about the dealership closing and how it would affect the economy of Mt. Pleasant.
“This past year, we saw a $2 million loss in valuation on one of the properties in Mt. Pleasant,” he said. “With the car dealership closing, we might see another loss, and if that dealership remains empty for a while, it could really impact the city negatively.”
The Crown Motor Group, a Mt. Pleasant car dealership, celebrated a year in the community in October.
Kelly Barnett, owner of the dealership, bought the business in March 2019 and officially took over in October.
In October, Barnett recounted the problems the dealership has faced.
When the owner took over in March, General Motors workers were in the middle of a strike, which made getting cars and automotive parts for GM cars incredibly difficult.
Following the strike, the dealership saw its slowest season with winter and then came the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s just been tough. People told us we wouldn’t make it, but we pushed through,” Barnett said.
Lori Baylor, the controller for the dealership, who joined the team under Barnett, said the first year has “been a storm” and is glad the business has weathered through.
“The most challenging part was just getting everything off the ground and going in the very beginning, there was just a lot of trials and tribulations,” she said.
“We’ve had a lot of ups-and-downs but for the most part we have a great group of employees. We’re selling cars, we’re active in the community and we want them to come in and see us,” Baylor said in October.
On Wednesday, the dealership was empty.