Jack Carter Elk Valley Chevrolet Buick GMC managing partner Jared Williams at the Fernie dealership. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Carter group takes the wheel of Fernie dealership

New owners shift focus to fleet business after upgrading technology, doubling staff

It was by accident that Jared Williams became a car salesman.

He had taken a semester off university to decide between law and engineering, and started doing door-to-door sales before landing a job at a car dealership.

More than 20 years later, Williams is not only still in the industry but a managing partner of Jack Carter Elk Valley Chevrolet Buick GMC, formerly Denham GM, in Fernie.

Williams has worked for the Carter automotive group since 2001 under the mentorship of his now business partner, Jay McKeen.

“He put me through dealer school with the intention of eventually finding me something to operate and this is the opportunity that came up,” said Williams.

The pair took over the Fernie dealership on May 1 and has wasted no time in making changes.

“In three weeks, we’ve managed to almost double our staff, so that’s been good,” said Williams.

“It’s been a challenge as you can probably tell, it looks like almost every business has a help wanted sign on it out here… We’ve been able to get some good people on board and have had some good people that stayed when we bought the business.”

As well as hiring new staff, Williams has been upgrading furniture and technology at the dealership.

He has a strong background in fleet and plans to expand that side of the business.

Williams believes Fernie is perfectly placed for a General Motors dealership, with its proximity to Calgary and active, outdoors-loving population.

“We’ve got a big infrastructure in Calgary and being able to have that support to rely on is pretty important, and then I’ve got good ties to the factory; I know who to talk to, I’ve got good relationships over the years that I’ve built with all the GM employees, so it just made sense,” he said.

Williams originally hails from Saskatchewan but has lived in Calgary most of his life. He currently divides his time between Fernie and Calgary, where his wife Cheryl still lives and works, with plans to buy a home in the Elk Valley.

Williams’ favourite model is the Corvette but he recently traded his sports car for a truck to better suit the Fernie lifestyle.

“General Motors, their strong suit is trucks and sport utilities, and this is definitely a truck and sport utility market… it seems like everybody has got an active lifestyle, so having a place to be able to put your bicycles or your dirt bikes, or whatever it might be, it just seems like it’s a good fit,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to doing some business in the Valley here.”

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Meet the staff at Jack Carter Elk Valley Chevrolet Buick GMC. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

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