New life for former Ford dealership building


A Forest building that has been empty for over 20 years is coming back to life thanks to a local businessman.

The old Ford dealership building located at the corner of Highway 80 and Highway 35 is one that has literally  breathed the exhaust of vehicles. Jimmy Shaw knew the history behind the building when he purchased it. “Sometimes when people buy an old building, they want to change it and take away its history,” Shaw said. But for him, he wanted the building to be restored and have an automotive business within.

The recently renovated building was the home to five Ford dealerships over the years.

In the early 60’s it was Sessums Ford, years went by and it became East Ford, then Bowers Ford, Haralson Ford, and then Killens Motors.

After Killens Motors moved north on Highway 35 where Forest Ford is now located, the building fell into a state of disrepair. Years later construction began, a new roof was put on, and the building went from a quiet neglected state to the sounds of air wrenches and hydraulic lifts once again.

Clay’s Auto Repair has been in business since 2013. It went from a four bay garage working on four cars at time to working on eight cars in the newly renovated facility.

Clay Harmon has over 20 years of experience as a mechanic. Harmon started working at Johnny Alignment and Tire in 1990 and worked there for over three years. Then he transfered to Killens Motors.

Now he sets his feet back on the concrete of the building where he once worked hard at getting people back in there vehicle after being serviced.

For Harmon this building has more space and visibility which makes it very convenient for the customer. “We have doubled in size hoping to have a quicker turnover allowing our customers to receive their vehicles at a faster pace,”  Harmon said. “We love our new building but like all new moves, we are trying to get settled in.”

Clay’s Auto Repair consist of up-to-date diagnostic equipment such as the IDS Ford system and the Tech 2 GM system. Not only do they have diagnostic equipment but they also do a large range of other jobs as well, such as front end alinement, tire monitoring, A/C repair, and custom exhaust. “We have all the diagnostic equipment for all makes, foreign and domestic,” Harmon concluded.

Service Manager Chris King has been working with the family owned and operated company since they first opened their doors between Sistrunk Sales and Service and Sistrunk Tire and Auto. “I have enjoyed working with these wonderful christian people and in a christian environment,” King said.

Pictured from left are the mechanics, Clay Harmon, Jimmie McGraw, Chris King, Sam Atkinson and Zac Harmon.