Adventure Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram auto dealership has been purchased by Kevin Chernikoff, Seth Severin and Stephen Shane, and renamed Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Willoughby.
This is the seventh auto dealership purchased by Chernikoff and Severin, who have been friends for three decades. Together, they own Hyundai of Bedford, Kia of Bedford, Kia of Alliance and Summit Toyota of Akron. In addition to the Willoughby dealership, they also own Chevrolet of Wooster and Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac of Mount Vernon with Shane, who started at their other dealerships as the operations manager.
They reached out to Evan Fineberg, previous owner of the Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership.
“Over three or four months, we put the deal together,” Chernikoff said.
Fineberg told the Cleveland Jewish News he was presented the opportunity and the timing was right to sell.
For Severin, auto sales is not a new endeavor. His family owned Metro Lexus in Brook Park until they sold it in 2005. Chernikoff said his partner then entered the auto wholesale business.
“Kia of Bedford came across his lap in 2007, and he called me up and said, ‘Hey, there’s this new car company that’s trying to make a big splash in the United States. You want to take ... a gamble with me?’” Chernikoff said.
A self-described “retailer by nature,” Chernikoff is also the CEO of Ticknors Men’s Clothier. Shortly after buying Kia of Bedford – his first dealership with Severin – the 2008 recession hit, he said.
“That taught us a lot (about) how to run leaner operations and watch (our) cashflow,” he said. In 2009 and 2010, Chernikoff and Severin seized the opportunity to buy a few more dealerships that were undervalued at the time.
With the addition of their auto dealership in Willoughby, Chernikoff said Jeep has a strong lineup ahead.
“With the new Gladiator pickup version of the Jeep and a bunch of new models coming out in 2020, we’re excited about the Ram and the Jeep side of the business there,” he said. “We think it’ll be a great venture for us.”