“Doing business here is much more difficult than the lower 48 for logistical reasons,” said Cook, who added it’s typical for customers to ferry vehicles in for service.
But, he said, the acquisition was “an opportunity to sort of own an entire market and acquire brands that we didn’t currently have.”
Alaska had just 27 new light-vehicle dealerships at the end of 2022, according to the NADA Data 2022 annual report. But some of the biggest names in auto retail have a presence in the state. Lithia Motors Inc., of Medford, Ore., has long had stores in Alaska. Swickard Auto Group entered the state in 2020 and then purchased three dealerships there representing seven brands in the past year and a half. And Kendall Automotive Group, a large retailer in the Pacific Northwest, also has stores in Alaska.
Graydon Funk and Kody Richardson, both of whom are general managers at Goode Motor’s three dealerships in southern Idaho, are partners in the Alaska stores, having each bought a small, undisclosed minority stake, Cook said.
Cook said he anticipated that he, Funk or Richardson would be at the Juneau stores consistently for the remainder of the year as the group gets off the ground there.
“They’re younger than me, and they’re really good operators,” Cook said. “And so together, we’re going to turn this thing around and make it a pretty cool little deal.”
Goode Motor, of Burley, Idaho, previously had a Stellantis dealership in Hailey, Idaho, but closed it, Cook noted. In October 2021, it sold a Ford store in Hailey to Karl Malone Auto Group.
Cook said the two Juneau stores sell around 70 new vehicles a month. Under previous ownership, the stores’ monthly used-vehicle sales were in the teens, Cook said.
But the group plans to put a stronger emphasis on its used-vehicle business, with Cook noting that many shoppers in Juneau and the surrounding areas turn to either Anchorage, Alaska, or Seattle to buy used vehicles.
While Alaska was not on the group’s radar, Cook said the business had been looking to expand.
“We’ve gone after other deals and got pretty far down the road but just never could get it done because we’re pretty disciplined on what we’re willing to pay,” Cook said. “With this deal, we stretched a little bit, but the upside was huge. We decided to go for it because it’s the capital, all the OEMs in one town and all that. It felt like something, even with running it remotely, we could make it work.”