Morgan County recently bid a fond farewell to a household name, Barber Brothers Ford. In 1981, the Barber brothers opened their first location in Morgan City. They started out as High Country Chevrolet Oldsmobile and after several changes, ended up taking on the Ford franchise and moved their building to its current location in 1998.
The new location gave them more visibility from the freeway and John Barber gave credit to Mayor Marie Heiner and the city and county council members at that time for making that transition a smooth one. Barber said having a great relationship with both city and county officials always made it easier to give back and made it a lot of fun.
Chamber of Commerce board member Albert Wilde said that John was always very involved and wanted to help with whatever needed to be done. “When I would ask John for help with an event or sponsorship, his answer was always the same, ‘Whatever you need,’” commented Shelly Betz, Morgan City councilwoman.
Chamber of Commerce member Jason Johnson praised Barber for donating countless hours of his time helping to establish an effective Morgan Area Chamber of Commerce. Johnson mentioned that, “Looking back through past efforts such as Envision Morgan, you will always see that John participated and played an important role in trying to make our valley a better place to live. His recent participation in the writing of the Morgan Area Economic Development Plan opened new doors that will prove to be crucial in Morgan growing in a way that will be positive for those who live here.”
Barber has been a pillar of the community since he arrived in the area. You almost can’t attend an event locally that has not been sponsored in some way by Barber Brothers Ford. “This community has an integrity all its own. People here are so giving, caring and honest, it makes it almost effortless to maintain good business ethics when those ethics parallel those of the community,” reflected Barber.
“If I listed all the people that I have amazing experiences with in this community, the list would be as long as my arm. People make a fortune on self-help books every year, but the residents here don’t need things like that. They just do the things their grandma taught them. It’s as simple as that,” continued Barber.
Liz Donaldson spoke of approaching Barber Brothers about helping out with the Morgan Valley Marathon. She said they were excited to help. The company donated items for the schwag bags, participated in the expo and held their Saturday radio show during the marathon. Barber also held his radio show during the annual Cruzin’ Classics car show one year.
John has committed to stay on with Young Ford part time for three months to help the staff with the transition. After that he plans to take some time off and then maybe pursue local or possibly even state politics. He has also considered starting a consulting business for local automotive groups or pursuing opportunities with the NADA. He is excited to see what God has in mind for him.
Mountain Green resident Lydia Nuttall, who was recently recognized on a state level for her own community service, appreciated that Barber willingly contributed financially to Morgan’s celebration of the “225th Anniversary of America’s Constitution” last month. It was a big success even with the freak snow storm that dumped on us that day, and wouldn’t have been possible without generous donors like the Barbers. She continued, “John is such a happy and positive person to be around. He is so supportive of just about everything worthwhile our community does to benefit families and our youth.”
The thing the Barbers will miss the most is the interaction with the customers as well as the Ford executives. Barbers favorite memory was the groundbreaking of the new building, but he was close to tears talking about how much he loved each and every event he was involved in. “From the livestock auction, to the Drive One 4 UR School event, every event large and small was important to me.”
Barber raved about how wonderful this community has been to work with and is confident that Young Ford will carry on that tradition. They have already sought advice about what the Barbers have done in the past and how we have supported the community. Even the marketing agency they are using is eager to get to know the community.
So as we say goodbye to community icons, the Barber Brothers, we welcome back the familiar faces of the Young family and wish them all the success and camaraderie their predecessors enjoyed.