The Valdosta Daily Times
Langdale Ford Co. reached a milestone this past Thursday night as employees, friends, family and retirees celebrated its 50th year in business.
During the spring of 1963, the Langdale family was approached by J. Carol Sherwood, a friend who was interested in purchasing the Ford dealership in Valdosta. Requesting their partnership, Sherwood went into business with Harley Langdale Jr., John W. Langdale and William P. Langdale in April and opened for business a month later.
“I have been here for over 21 years and have a good relationship with the Langdale family and company,” said Vice President Steve Everett. “We have great Ford products. If you talk to many people, they have a Ford story. We love it here.”
Sherwood held the title of operating partner and general manager until his retirement in the late 1980s. According to Everett and his team, the dealership truly succeeded during Sherwood’s term, establishing a lot of close relationships with customers and their families through the years.
Everett took over the general manager position in 1992 when he decided to go into partnership with the Langdale family. With more than 20 years experience with Ford, Everett is still highly dedicated to his duties and has been one of three general managers since the business opened in 1963.
“I am really proud of 50 years of business, it’s tough,” Everett said. “We’re rock solid here at Langdale Ford and I don’t see why we can’t celebrate 50 more years.”
Langdale Ford was originally located on West Central Avenue. Plans were immediately made to move into a brand-new facility on the corner of Oak and Magnolia downtown where it still remains today. According to the staff, customers who visit for routine service find the location of Langdale Ford to be convenient.
Near the beginning of Everett’s term, Langdale Ford’s facility was remodeled to freshen its image and to make room for new merchandise. The Langdale family added new offices to the dealership and expanded its parts and service departments to handle sales, services, parts and collision repair.
“Our employees and our customers are the only reason we are celebrating 50 years,” said President Wesley Langdale. “It’s all about these people. It’s about the customers.”
Langdale Ford’s 50th anniversary was sentimental to say the least for its employees, customers, former employees and their families. They were able to enjoy important mementos from the past including newspaper clippings, old photos and even vintage toy Ford cars that were placed around the office.
Ford Motor Company participated in the celebration, commemorating Langdale Ford’s 50th year of achievement. Rick Brisson, regional director for sales and service, presented Everett with a letter as well as an anniversary plaque.
“I do very few 50th celebrations. It’s mostly 25 and that’s because it’s hard,” Brisson said. “It’s leadership, character and community. Steve speaks highly of the community and his team and I am very proud of our company and our brand. It’s a family-owned business and I bleed Ford blue.”
Langdale Ford continues taking pride in its products and the ability to touch the life of every customer. The staff has been honored to be the Ford dealer of Valdosta for the last 50 years and looks forward to see what the next 50 will bring.