After more than 30 years, frequent drivers on Highway 180 in Hudson Oaks may notice a bit of a difference come Saturday.
That’s because Hooks Lincoln, a longtime staple along the road, is moving 14 miles to the east at the request of Lincoln.
"We’ve been part of this community for almost 35 years and it’s an exciting opportunity but it’s with a heavy heart that we decided to do this," General Manager Kip Hooks said. "Make no mistake, though, we are not losing our ties to Weatherford."
Though the dealership is moving, Hooks said they will remain part of the Weatherford New Car Dealers Association; Dennis Hooks will still remain mayor of Weatherford; and Kip Hooks will still be on the WISD school board.
“This is our home; we are not going to let our ties to this community that has supported us and who we’ve supported go away,” Kip Hooks said. “The only thing that’s changing is where we drive to work everyday.”
Dennis Hooks said the family has turned down other opportunities before because it required them to leave Parker County altogether and that wasn’t negotiable. This time, however, Lincoln found a location that was close enough to allow the family to live in Weatherford and still expand.
“The [new location] is twice the size of our current dealership,” Kip Hooks said. “Here, we’re bursting at the seams so this will give us a chance to bring our philosophy to others.”
But Dennis Hooks stressed that it’s hard to leave after so many years.
“This was my baby,” he said. “We started downtown, five blocks west of the [Weatherford Square] in 1981, and we’ve watched our children grow up here and in this building most of the time...it’s hard to leave.”
When asked if there was a chance for the family to keep the Hudson Oaks location and simply expand to the Fort Worth location, Dennis Hooks said that wasn’t an option they were offered by Lincoln.
“Logistically, they need us there,” he said. “This isn’t a common thing and the opportunity doesn’t come often so we are honored to have the chance.”
Despite what some have heard, Dennis Hooks said, the Lincoln dealership was not sold to Jerry Durant, though the land (6.6 acres total) and building were sold to him. It wasn’t known what Durant planned to do with the location but Dennis and Kip Hooks said the decision to sell the existing area to him was a “no-brainer.”
“There was no doubt in my mind who to receive what we built here,” Dennis Hooks said. “He’s a very fine man.”
Kip Hooks said it was easy because Durant is a “class guy.”
“It’s kind-of like picking your neighbor as your successor,” he said. “It means a lot to us who comes in here. I can’t think of anybody better to come into this facility and whatever he does with it...I’m OK with it because it’s Jerry.”
Acknowledging that, to some, it shouldn’t matter what happens to the building after they’re gone but Kip Hooks added that the building holds special memories for him so he feels an obligation to care about it.
“I grew up in this office and it’s the only one I’ve ever known,” he said, adding that while he was a student at Texas Christian University he would come after school and study for finals. “The fact that he’ll be here is huge for me.”
For those wondering about servicing their vehicle purchased from Hooks Lincoln, both Kip and Dennis Hooks said nothing will change.
“Every one of our employees is coming with us so they are going to get the same great service they get today,” Dennis Hooks said. “Our philosphy isn’t going to change.”
Kip Hooks said the dealership is a service-first oriented company and that is part of the reason customers are so loyal to them and vice-versa.
“I am third generation because of the attitude my father and grandfather had with regard to customer service,” he said, recalling a story about his grandfather helping someone who was just passing through replace a broken mirror after the dealership was closed at no charge.
“That’s what we do,” he added. “Lincoln is an experience-oriented company and those things are one in the same.”
The Hooks’ new location, currently the home of Frank Kent Hyundai, is move-in ready but will be renovated in the coming months to ensure it fits the Lincoln name. During the move, Kip Hooks said the phone number, website and any other logistics will remain the same.
“As long as our name is on the building, I’m going to see to it we do things that best represent that name,” Kip Hooks said. “I’m personally very protective of our name and the legacy that my grandfather made.
“I don’t need a title, I’m part of a legacy and that’s all that matters to me.”
The dealership begins moving Saturday and Hooks’ last day is Feb. 15 in it’s current location.