BIRMINGHAM – The Alabama Retail Association, in cooperation with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, today recognized outstanding Alabama retailers representing 13 retail businesses with operations in 48 Alabama cities and 12 other states as Retailers of the Year. The 13 winning Retailers of the Year came from a pool of almost 70 nominees. The presentations were made at the Vestavia Country Club in Birmingham during the 2014 Retail Day Luncheon. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley presented the keynote address and signed a statewide proclamation declaring Sept. 23 as Alabama Retail Day. This marked the 15th presentation of the Retailer of the Year Awards since 1999.
Tracy Shields Jones, president, and George Jones, general manager, of Century Automotive Group, a high-end, high-performance luxury automobile dealership in Huntsville, earned the Gold Retailer of the Year Award in the Annual Sales More Than $20 Million category. Ken Smith, director of research and information services for the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, nominated the couple for the award. The Retailer of the Year judges said the Jones’ “forward thinking has led to remarkably resilient sales growth and a bright future.”
Tracy Jones is a third generation automobile dealer. Her father, John Shields II, started the current dealership, which sells the BMW, Porshe, Jaquar, Land Rover and Volvo brands, in 1969 as Royal Chevrolet. The dealership became Century Automotive Group in 1981. Tracy worked as a CPA with Price Waterhouse in Houston, Texas, before coming to work as controller for Century in 1988. Her husband, George Jones, brought his extensive marketing background to the company in 1989. Tracy became president in 1993 when her father retired.
The dealership has won many awards through the years from the various brands they sell. In addition, in 1999, the Huntsville Chamber named Century as its Small Business of the Year. In 2002, Tracy Jones earned the Silver Alabama Retailer of the Year in the then Annual Sales More Than $10 Million category. In 2007, Time magazine named Tracy Jones and Century as the Quality Dealer of the Year among 60,000 dealerships nationwide for its dealership success and support of the community. Tracy Jones is an annual speaker at the University of Alabama Culverhouse School of Business.
High school sweethearts who attended the University of Alabama together, George and Tracy Jones have worked side by side since 1989. George runs the day-to-day business, including sales and marketing, while Tracy oversees the finances of the six dealerships they manage. The couple has four children.
The business continues to grow and improve. They currently are building a new BMW facility on 5.5 acres adjacent to the existing dealership. They recently updated their website with focus on social media and reevaluated their collision center processes resulting in a reduction of their average repair time by four days.
In addition to business successes, the dealership also has supported a wide range of organizations and causes. It has been a supporter of and fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for 11 years. And for more than 25 years, it has supported the Huntsville Hospital Foundation by hosting their longest running fundraiser, The BMW Brunch.
Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown said, “George and Tracy Jones are retailers of the year EVERY year to their customers, their 110 employees and the Huntsville area.”
Media Contact: Tracy Shields Jones, Century Automotive Group | 246.536.3800
Media Contact: Nancy King Dennis | 334.551.0643 (d) | 800.239.5423