The husband-and-wife team of Chip and Wendy Chudy are living the American dream. They have parlayed their love for automobiles and the art of the deal into Motorcars of Jackson, offering fine, pre-owned vehicles that have found buyers all over the nation and the world.
Now, the couple is looking to launch a new chapter in the company’s history. While the majority of Motorcars of Jackson’s sales have been online, the Chudys are looking to go brick and mortar with their first-ever showroom.
“We have cars at our home and two different warehouses, plus a separate office,” Chip Chudy said. “Our inventory is scattered, and few people in the Jackson area know who we are and what we offer. That’s why we’re wanting to open a showroom.”
“We love selling automobiles that are unique — ones that you can’t go down the road and see at every other car lot,” Wendy Chudy added.
“We have strictly been an online dealer for eight years and kept our vehicles in a warehouse. Our website is our storefront. We ship about 85 percent of our vehicles and have rarely sold to local customers.”
It has been an interesting joy ride into the automobile business for the Chudys, both of whom grew up with a fascination for cars. Chip is a Cleveland native whose dream of playing football ended with a knee injury in his senior year of high school. The couple met when Wendy, who is from Columbus, was visiting friends in Cleveland. After conducting a long-distance romance, Chip moved to Columbus to be near Wendy. They married in 1997.
The roots of Motorcars of Jackson began in Columbus with one seemingly inauspicious purchase. Chip was working a farm auction when a vehicle that was up for bid caught his eye.
“It was an old farm truck, about 24 shades of blue, and nobody would bid on it,” Chip remembered. “I thought, ‘Shoot, I’ll take it.’ I got it for $300. I brought it home, detailed it out, parked it in front of our house and we sold it about two hours later.”
Finding the deal fun and profitable, the Chudys began buying and selling cars on a larger scale, eventually growing the business into a small car lot in Columbus.
The couple exited the automobile industry when Chip joined Wendy in her father’s business, Dowdle Gas Company. The couple would relocate to Florida when Wendy sold her portion of the Dowdle stores in Tennessee and bought stores in Florida. When her family subsequently decided to sell Dowdle, Chip and Wendy found themselves in their early 30s and retired, and moved back to Mississippi to be closer to family.
The car-buying-and-selling-bug followed them.
“We both longed to be back in the car business, but didn’t want the headache of having to sit at a location all day and wait for foot traffic,” Wendy said. “We decided that if we were going to get back into the car business, it would be on our terms and it would be fun.”
With that, Motorcars of Jackson was launched. It offered an inventory far removed from that original farm truck — hand-selected vehicles such as Porsches, Audis and BMWs with a close eye on condition, appearance, features, warranty and price. The Chudys, who reside in Ridgeland, count customers as far away as California, Michigan and Massachusetts, and have shipped vehicles to Canada, Nigeria, Russia and Kuwait. Practically all of that business has been conducted online.
The couple is banking on changing that with the proposed showroom. They have purchased an 8,000-square-foot building at 6105 I-55 in Jackson as well as an adjacent lot. They closed on the purchase in May.
Now, the Chudys are mulling their next move. They are weighing whether to renovate the 40-year-old facility or build a brand new building on the lot next door.
“The new showroom has to reflect the quality of our inventory — the expectations of our customers,” Chip said.
“We will continue to sell online, but also hope to appeal to our high-end local shoppers, as well,” Wendy said.
Whatever direction they go, the Chudys are determined to maintain their basic philosophy of keeping it fun.
The showroom will be open to appointment-only customers, leaving them free to spend time with their two young boys, Chad and Reed.
Wendy said, “We buy vehicles that we enjoy driving, meet some of the nicest people when selling them and are able to take time to enjoy our children. This is our idea of fun.”