Two auto dealers share same spot in Augusta

Two used car dealers located side by side are better than one.

At least that’s the way long-time Augusta dealer Lee Frye figures it.

And by all accounts, so does former Wichita used car dealer Sam Taha, who has located his Sam’s Automall on the same ground that houses Frye Autos, at 603 W. Seventh in Augusta.

“He’s been with the community here since ’91, and he has a lot of followers,” Taha said of Frye, who prior to getting in the used car business was owner of Frye Chevrolet in Augusta, which he sold in 2004. “The business is really great right now.”

Taha moved his 9-year-old dealership to Augusta at the invite of Frye and because the Sam’s Automall location at 8335 E. Kellogg was hard to access, hard to see and struggling for business.

At the Augusta location — along U.S. Highway 54 — Taha said, “it’s absolutely 100 percent easy accessibility here, and people are going 30 miles an hour versus 70 miles an hour on the flyover. It’s a night and day difference.”

Frye, who came out of retirement to open Frye Autos in October 2011 in his former Frye Chevrolet lot, said the two dealerships are not competing for the same business.

“He runs his deal, and I run mine,” Frye said. “With the way everything is right now, we decided two heads are better than one.”

Frye said he’s known Taha for about nine years. The way he sees it, they don’t compete for the same business because Frye Autos sells primarily domestic vehicles and Taha focuses more on sales of used imports, including luxury brands such as Acura, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

“And to be quite honest with you, I’m an old Chevy man,” Frye said.

Frye said they also share some back-office operations. “We cut expenses that way.”

Taha said he’s still waiting on permanent signs to go up on the showroom building, but should have some banners put up this week.

But, Frye and Taha said, passersby shouldn’t be confused. There are two dealers sharing the same spot.

“It’s a good combination,” Frye said.