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Home mySSlife Family Owned Businesses Family Owned Business: Over 75 years of Toliver family history and joy lies in the auto dealership business

Family Owned Business: Over 75 years of Toliver family history and joy lies in the auto dealership business

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The total price of a new Ford pickup was $295. It was the 1930s. That’s how long the Toliver family has been in the auto dealership business.

The family got its start when Brian Toliver’s grandfather, R.L. Burton, purchased a gas station, adding a new car franchise to the dealership, in Haskell.

Burton advertised, “Pick your dealer first and then choose your used car. …Today we are offering some of the greatest bargains in our history.” Included in the advertisement were cars priced starting at $10.

Later, Burton sold the dealership to his son-in-law Bailey Toliver. Bailey continued the growth of the dealership in Haskell, until his son, Brian Toliver, graduated from Texas Tech and took over the dealership in 1980.

Brian Toliver bought a dealership in Sweetwater while his two brothers also went into the auto business, Joseph Toliver – owner of Toliver Brothers in Ballinger and Sam Toliver – owner Bailey Toliver Chevrolet Cadillac in Haskell and Big State Auto Auction in Abilene.

A third generation dealer, Brian  sold Toliver Auto Plaza after 17 years in Sweetwater to Stanley Automotive of Dallas. The search began. The Brian Toliver family looked all over the state for a thriving small community, and found an great opportunity in Sulphur Springs in 2006.

Thus began his family’s dealership history in East Texas as Brian  expanded with his two sons – Brent, General Manager, and Jonathan, General Sales Manager overseeing Brian Toliver Ford Lincoln Mercury.

“I wanted to build something for my sons,” Brian said with pride, anticipating growth in East Texas in a location close to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. “I think this area is one of the best kept secrets in Texas.”

“We believe in living in the community where we do business,” said Brian, as his entire family – wife, Leesa; oldest son, Brent, and his wife Susan, and their two-week-old daughter, Claire; and youngest son, Jonathan and his wife, Sally – resides in Sulphur Springs. “We moved to East Texas for the opportunity. It is growing area with a strong community as well as a great place to raise a family.”

A family owned dealership, Brian Toliver Ford Lincoln Mercury, located at 1040 Gilmer, stands by their customers and are dedicated to their motto, "You will like the way we trade!" They offer sales of new and pre-owned automobiles from the popular compact Ford Edge to a luxury ride Lincoln MKX or a Ford pickup, a complete body shop, parts and service department, fleet sales and new Quick Lane which provides services for any make or model using quality parts from trusted brands performed by factory-trained experts without the need of an appointment.

“There are only 530 dealers that provide the Quick Lane service,” Brian said, stating they have just completed a remodel including new flooring, paint and updated offices.

In his lifetime of selling automobiles, Brian said he has sold about 30,000 automobiles.

What is the best part of the business? “I just love watching the joy on the customers’ faces when we hand them their keys,” Brian said.

The Toliver family believes in being there for their customers and their employees.

Brent said, “We are unique, because there is always a Toliver at the store. We always have someone here that can make a decision.”

Both sons, the fourth generation of Tolivers in the automobile business, have previously worked in other dealerships after they graduated from Texas Tech gaining more knowledge of the business.

“We have outstanding service and pre-owned automobile department,” said Brent taking a hands-on approach with their customers.

“I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” said Jonathan. “I love it even though it is not really glamorous. …Since we opened our Quick Lane service business has been really busy.”

Brian Toliver Ford Lincoln Mercury also offers competitive prices on tires, added Jonathan.

More information including inventory selection, services and hours of operation on the dealership can be found at their website www.briantoliver.com or by calling (903) 885-0502 or (800) 481-8942.




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