Freeland CDJR plans open house after Friday ribbon cutting
By Jim Turner

Posted on April 1, 2014 8:57 PM

Freeland CDJR has officially been open for business in Russellville for two months now, after the purchase of the store at the end of January. The LoJo checked in with Nick Rice and the team to see how business was going.

“It’s been great; we’ve seen the business double since we’ve been here,” said Rice.

With the new operation, Freeland CDJR has quadrupled its inventory. Rice tells us that Gupton Motors had 15 new vehicles in stock when Freeland took over; the dealership now currently has about 90 new vehicles on the lot for sale. “By offering a larger selection of inventory (New, Used and Buy Here Pay Here), we’ve been able to get more people into new vehicles or a vehicle they want, because we can offer the pricing and selection they need.” But that’s not the only thing that’s changed.

By adding more employees and reequipping the service department, Rice says that the sales and service business has doubled. “We’re now equipped to do more service and can take care of all automotive needs for all makes and models.”

Freeland Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram will be having its Open House this weekend, April 4 – 5. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be officiated by the Chamber of Commerce on Friday, April 4 at noon. There will be refreshments to follow. The dealership will also be grilling hotdogs on this Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Rice believes that the biggest part of all the successes and changes they’ve had is the community.


“I want to thank the community personally for trusting us and giving us a shot. We wouldn’t be doubling our business without their support. We’ve been received with open arms and it’s been fun getting involved in the community,” Rice says. +We look forward to getting more involved and meeting more people as the months and years go on. You might not be buying a car today or tomorrow or even this year, but when you’re ready, we want to be an option.”

Russellville’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram store was purchased by Ben Freeland and renamed Freeland Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (Freeland CDJR) early in 2014. Freeland is the current owner of Freeland Chevrolet in Nashville, Tenn. and has a long history of experience in the auto industry.

When asked what stood out about this particular store, Freeland responded, “I saw the potential in the dealership and the community.”

Freeland said he really plans to focus on being involved in the town and Logan County. “I believe it’s important to work as a group to achieve community goals and make sure Russellville continues to be a great place to live and work,” said Freeland.

Freeland thinks the key is to build the right team and give them the tools to be successful across all of his departments.

Departments at Freeland CDJR will include: New Car Sales, Used Car Sales, Buy Here Pay Here, Service, Parts and Fleet/Commercial Sales. “Each department has a specific function so we best meet everyone’s needs,” said Freeland.


Freeland tells us he this store will be dynamic and help customers go full circle – the tagline reading “Superstore Savings for Every Budget.”

“Most people think you need to go to the closest “big” city to get a deal on a vehicle,” said Freeland, “That’s simply not the case here.”

Freeland says he will be competitive in all his pricing with his inventory. Also, by practicing a personal belief he developed in his Nashville store by not charging his customers “Dealer Documentation Fees,” he is able to provide his customers significant savings. Broken down, additional dealer or doc fees are bottom line straight profit for a dealership. By not charging a typical dealer fee, Freeland CDJR can save customers anywhere from $250 - $700.

Another unique feature Freeland CDJR offers is its in-house financing company, a program also in place at his Nashville store. Through the in-house financing company, Freeland CDJR is the bank. The dealership finances customers that are usually turned down by the banks. Not only do they approve you and get you in a vehicle, but through the program they’re able to help you rebuild your credit in the long run.

Freeland says he has hundreds of success stories from the Nashville Chevy store. “They come to us with a bankruptcy or bad credit and we start them in our financing program. We then continue to repair their credit and move them up the purchasing ladder – eventually getting some into brand new vehicles. We understand people run into problems, that’s why we have this program to help get people financed and back on the road.”

The Service Department is the next big addition to the new store’s business. At the dealership they will service any make or model, all at competitive and affordable pricing. Oil changes will start at $19.83 (5 quarts conventional) or customers can get an oil change and tire rotation package for $29.67.

“The sky’s the limit,” said Freeland. “If anyone has suggestions or has a special automotive need, I’m all ears. I want to make sure we’re full equipped to serve every customer in Russellville and Logan County.”


Freeland’s History

Coming from a strong background of turning stores around, Freeland is excited about the opportunity to grow the business at Freeland Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

In the 1990s, Freeland acquired four import stores out of bankruptcy in Florida. He thoroughly combed through their history to learn what they were doing wrong and then strategically nursed them back to health. Freeland sold the four stores to the Sonic Automotive group, packed up his family and moved to Nashville with the intent of pursuing used car sales, consumer finance and real estate development.

In 2008, Freeland bought a Chevrolet dealership in Nashville, but not just any Chevy dealership. After much advice and many warnings against the deal, Freeland purchased the old Bill Heard Chevy store.

Under Heard, this particular store was the biggest Chevrolet dealership in the state of Tennessee from sales to employees to parts and service and more. However, the store did not have a good reputation in his last years, Freeland discovered.

Freeland had a long road ahead of him when it came to overcoming he store’s negative reputation, he planned on doing it the right way. Freeland made it his prerogative to approach the store with his personal reputation, community standing and organizational culture.

Firstly, he put his own family name on the store, making it clear that a new culture was taking over. He also arranged his office in the middle of the store behind a glass wall, completely viewable to customers. He wanted to talk to his customers and see what was going in his store directly.

Freeland opened up the dealership to the public, started community groups and meetings, and made it a priority to turn the neighborhood around. Nearby Hickory Hollow Mall had since closed and left the area in a disarray of graffiti, trash, crime and low morale. Freeland worked hard with city officials, police officers, local neighbors and family and friends, to not just turn around the vision of his Chevy store, but to revitalize and assist the local community around it.

Since the purchase of Freeland Chevrolet and low point in the community, the area has since recovered and is booming accordingly. New developments have come to area, over 2,000 jobs have moved to the district, crime has decreased and neighbors now proudly boast about their community. Many people attribute the area’s success to Freeland’s dedication to his business and to the community, the press release says.

It’s not unusual for people to bring pies and cakes to the store out of appreciation, abig change from the previous store.

“You build your reputation one customer at a time,” said Freeland, “and you have to be patient because it takes a while.”

Freeland says he’s dedicated to be a community support in Russellville, just like he is and has been in Nashville.

One of my first goals will be to refurbish the training room in the store and open it up to the community as a meeting space. “Our doors are open and we want to meet you,” Freeland tells Logan Countians..


Nick Rice, General Manager

Freeland has hired Nick Rice to operate the store as general manager. Rice has worked at the Chevy store in Nashville since its inception. “He’s worked hard to move up in the ranks. He’s extremely qualified and I believe he’s the perfect guy for the job,” said Freeland.

Rice will run day-to-day operations at Freeland CDJR and boasts “I’m very happy to make the move to this store. After meeting with a few people around town, I know I’m in the right place.”

Rice says he’s excited to meet the entire community of Russellville. “Stop by the store, let me shake your hand and introduce myself,” said Rice, “I’m excited to start what I believe will be a long, happy relationship with our customers, serving all their auto needs.”

Freeland CDJR is located at the intersection of U.S. 68-80 and the bypass both directions in Russellville’s East End.

The website is or the dealership can be reached by phone at 270-725-1400.

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