How We Started
Struggling to make something out of limited resources is not foreign to Mr. Ellis. When he was 10 years old, he and his family moved to Atlanta Prison Farm property. His father was the foreman of the prison farm and his grandfather was the superintendent. Growing up, Mr. Ellis worked on a farm, had a milk and paper route, did construction, ran a concessions business at Grant Park, and ran a laundry route. By the time he completed West Georgia College and Georgia State University in 1957 with a BBA in general management, he had worked also as a prison guard and foreman, sold insurance, IBM Machines and real estate, and held various other jobs to work his way through college. After returning from serving two years in the U.S. Army, Mr. Ellis held a variety of jobs until he found his place in the automobile business with General Motors in 1960.
In 1970, Jim Ellis and his wife Billie took the biggest financial plunge of their lives to establish their own automobile dealership. They sold all of their assets, used all of their savings, cashed in Billies retirement fund from over 15 years at Georgia Tech, and borrowed the balance to begin Jim Ellis Volkswagen in 1971. In total, the plunge amounted to $35,000 in assets, and $165,000 in loans.
The Ellis family is a very close knit one. Jim Ellis, the President and Chief Executive Officer are still active in the major corporate and capital decisions. Billie (Mrs. Jim) Ellis serves as Secretary and Treasurer of the corporations. Their son Jimmy is the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Corporations. Their daughter, Karen Black serves as a Corporate Officer and their daughter Kristi serves as a Corporate Officer. Karen’s daughter, Brooke Gatlin serves as an office assistant. Jimmy's daughter Stacey Hodges serves as General Manager of Jim Ellis Saab of Atlanta, Jim Ellis Wheego and Jim Ellis Mazda Atlanta. Jimmy's son Wes serves as the General Manager of Jim Ellis Hyundai. Jim's niece's son Chris Roper serves as Insurance Loss Control Administrator for all Corporations
The responsibilities of these family members are clearly divided and many of the family members play an active role in the businesses. We now have three generations working every day in our family business. The fourth generation is coming up with six members ages one to six. They are young, but we are planning for them to have an opportunity to work with us too, when they complete their chosen education.
At this time, the details of succession are complete with the proper planning in place. Jimmy will succeed Jim as President and Chief Executive Officer when Jim retires. Stacey Hodges and Wes Ellis (third generation) are currently General Managers and are being groomed to become Vice Presidents and Chief Operating Officers when they are ready in few years. All family members have worked their way up in the organizations by working in all departments and learning the policies and procedures of the company.
We celebrated our 40th year in business in 2011 and plan to be family-owned and operated for the next foreseeable Ellis generations.
If you are not exactly sure which part your car requires, you can call us or stop by the shop, and we will be happy to track down exactly what you need.