Our Story

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Here at Bill Harris Dealerships, we have a rich history and long-standing reputation for providing quality vehicles and exceptional customer service to the good people of Ashland County.

Towards the end of a 23-year career with the United States Marine Corps, Bill Harris felt a calling to build his own business in order to spread the lessons he had acquired throughout his life. Originally from Tennessee, Bill earned his B.A. from the University of Arizona before serving in the Korean War as an enlisted Marine. He attended the US Army Counterintelligence School, then served the remainder of his 23-year career with the USMC as an intelligence and counterintelligence officer, serving two tours of duty in Vietnam. Bill received numerous decorations for his military achievements, including the Joint Service Commendation (Achievement) and Bronze Star Medal (Service).

In a moment of serendipity, Bill found himself buying a new Chevrolet at a dealership in Escondido, California. The sales manager recommended to Bill that car sales could be a good fit, and it was here that the idea to start a dealership sparked within him. Bill found the opportunity he was looking for to grow a business and give back to the local community in a positive way. Shortly after his start in the auto industry, he was asked to move from California to northeast Ohio to help run a Chevrolet dealership in Mentor. Within a year, he learned of a Chevrolet store coming up for sale in a small town about 70 miles south. Bill moved to Ashland in 1981 and immediately started pouring back into the community, growing the store into one of the largest Chevrolet dealerships in North-Central Ohio.

With the help of his three sons, Bill continued to grow his dream. The Harris family found success in not only providing an enjoyable car-buying experience but also in being active members of their community. One of the first taglines that the Harris family committed to was, “Sales with Integrity and Service with Confidence.” As word spread and business continued to grow, Bill was able to add other franchises, including Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Jeep, and Eagle.

Bill found his next calling in 1994, venturing into state politics hoping to bring his small-business mentality to Columbus. Bill was the kind of guy who would not own something he wasn’t actively involved in, so he decided to sell his stake in the business to his sons Billy Jr., Lonnie, and Scott. 

Scott had been acting General Manager since 1989 and soon became President of Bill Harris Dealerships. Lonnie was the Used Car Manager and Treasurer, and Billy Jr. became Vice President. Through Scott’s leadership, Bill Harris Auto continued to thrive and was able to acquire the local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram franchises in 2005. Scott’s two sons joined the business in 2007 (David) and 2008 (Aaron). 

By 2018, David and Aaron were given the opportunity to become owners when Billy Jr. and Lonnie decided it was time to retire. Aaron is now the Dealer and General Manager and wishes to continue the legacy of his grandfather Bill by putting faith, family and community first. The Harris family aims to create a business that enriches the community by providing a world-class customer experience while providing career opportunities for those who desire to work, learn, and grow in a supportive, family-focused environment.

Proudly guided by our core values, the Bill Harris Dealerships continues to uphold our reputation in the communities where we live, work, and serve. Browse our online inventory or visit any of our dealership locations to experience auto service like no other!

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2245 Claremont Ave, Ashland, OH 44805