By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
Sowers Pre-Owned Auto Sales in Fairmont has “opened back up full force” with the return of owner Frank Sowers.
Sowers, a Fairmont native, started the business on Gaston Avenue in 2001. After operating at that location for two years, Sowers Pre-Owned Auto Sales moved to a new building at 501 Merchant St. across from Auto Zone, which has been its home for about 10 years now.
Sowers was recently away from the business for a total of seven months due to a very serious illness. He explained that following a surgery, he experienced several complications and ended up with an infection. He went through nine surgeries in a year period and lost a lot of weight.
“It was very rough,” Sowers said.
During that time, he relied on employee Amy Janicki to handle the phone calls and keep the business running. But operations did have to stop a couple different times because of the circumstances.
Sowers said he’s not sure how he did it, but he actually made six or seven business transactions from a hospital bed, which his doctor wasn’t happy about.
Sowers is doing well now and is close to getting back to normal. He said it was very emotional to see how much family, friends and other car dealers helped and supported him while he was sick. He thanked people in the community for their thoughts, cards and prayers.
“It was amazing how the power of prayer and being a strong individual makes you appreciate life and want to bounce back, makes you a stronger person,” he said.
During the last four months, Sowers has gotten back into running the business, but with some help. He recently hired Anthony Blount, who has more than 25 years of experience, to work in sales and as his assistant.
“Together we offer a lot of professionalism in the business,” Sowers said. “It’s been great having him here to work with. We’re so similar in a lot of ways. There’s a lot of chemistry.”
Sowers and Blount focus a lot on late-model and hard-to-find pre-owned vehicles and also do motorcycle sales. In the past few months, they have increased their inventory.
The business is all about quality and takes pride in the clean, low-mileage vehicles on its lot. All of the vehicles are locally serviced, and most of them are under factory warranty, Sowers said.
“We offer a no-haggle atmosphere,” he said. “We try to reach out and get the best price for the customer right off the bat.”
They also try to make some older models available in order to meet customers’ needs. In addition, the business buys a lot of vehicles from the general public.
Sowers has been in the automobile industry for more than 30 years. He said he’s always been interested in cars and knew this was the type of work he wanted to do for a living.
“I was around cars all my life,” he said.
For 20 years, he worked at Wilson Ford in White Hall, starting in the sales department. Before leaving and going out on his own, he was a used car manager at the dealership.
“I really enjoy the business,” he said. “I feel that I’m a people person.”
He said he likes interacting with customers and is especially fond of the pre-owned segment of the car business, which has been his specialty.
Sowers Pre-Owned Auto Sales is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and by appointment.
For more information, call 304-363-0043. The business plans to relaunch its website soon.
Email Jessica Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.