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Knowlton Ford: Treating patrons like family for 54 years and counting

Photo Provided MIKE KNOWLTON, center, and his son Tyler Knowlton, receive a plaque recognizing the Knowlton Ford dealership’s 50 years of business in 2017 by Megan Carlini, a regional manager with Ford.

WOODSFIELD — Knowlton Ford in the village of Woodsfield has been providing its loyal customers with no-pressure sales and service for more than 50 years.

The family-owned and operated business celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. Owner Mike Knowlton said his grandfather, Oscar Kline, started Kline Truck and Equipment in 1944.

In 1967, his father and mother, the late Charles “Ed” and Deloris Knowlton, bought the business and started a Ford and Mercury franchise. Later, when Mercury was discontinued, it became the Knowlton Ford dealership.

Knowlton said his father died his senior year of high school and the day after graduation he began working at the dealership. Today, the dealership is operated by Knowlton; his son Tyler who works as the service manager, a salesman, among other duties; Tyler Knowlton’s wife, Beth, is the office manager and secretary; and Knowlton’s wife, Missy, also works those duties.

And when they were younger, Knowlton’s daughters, Karen and Kylie, also helped in the office and parts department.

Tyler Knowlton’s daughters Kinsley, 8, and Kora, 4, enjoy visiting the dealership.

“They spend a lot of time with Pappy. I tell them I’m grooming them to take over,” Knowlton said. “Kinsley watches the mechanics work and is handing them this and that.”

Knowlton noted having his family with him at the dealership has been wonderful.

“I may not be one of the richest dealers, but I got what most don’t have. My son has been in business with me and his wife and the grandkids are coming up in the ranks,” Knowlton said. “That’s worth more to me than money. There are few family-owned dealerships. … The few that are remaining, the children want nothing to do with it.”

Knowlton said when his older brother died it was difficult for him to cope with, and his son Tyler helped keep things running. He washed cars, picked up trash and showed interest in learning the business.

Knowlton also attributes his business’ success to its “outstanding employees and faithful, loyal customers.” He has two mechanics who do excellent repair and maintenance work as well, and they are continuously booked with work.

In terms of selling vehicles, Knowlton does not believe in high-pressure sales tactics.

“We are no games, no gimmicks, no high-pressure dealers,” he said. “We treat you like family. Always have, always will.”

Knowlton said his dealership’s best-selling Ford is the F-150 pickup truck.

In addition to new Fords, the dealership also sells used vehicles. Knowlton Ford sells all the latest Ford cars, trucks, SUVS, crossovers, hybrids, F-150s and Super Duty trucks.

The Ford cars include Fiesta, Focus, C-MAX, Fusion, Taurus and Mustang. Ford SUV/Crossovers include the Escape, Edge, Flex, Transit Connect, Explorer and Expedition. Ford hybrids and electric vehicles include the C-MAX Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, C-MAX Energi, Fusion Energi and Focus Electric.

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