A longtime Platte City auto dealership changed hands last week.
Tony Martens Dodge Chrysler Jeep had held down its spot at 601 Main Street for 27 years, offering new Chrysler vehicles and quality used cars. Martens — saying he decided the time was right “to do something else” — ended his tenure on the hill on Platte City’s east side when he agreed to sell the business to an ownership group based in Sedalia. The deal was closed last Friday for an undisclosed amount. The new name of the dealership is now Platte City Airport Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & Ram and the new general manager is Lee Hockensmith, also a part owner in the business. Hockensmith, 40, is a Blue Springs native and has 20 years of experience in the auto dealership business, with past stints at Cable-Dahmer Chevrolet and Independence Honda. He has also operated smaller dealerships in Nevada, Mo. and Belton. “We got the opportunity to come to Platte City and jumped on it,” Hockensmith said. “We think this area is one of the best kept secrets around.” Hockensmith said the ownership group owns several business ventures and recently got into the car dealership business. It owns Bryant Motors in Sedalia and last month opened a dealership in Fulton. All their dealerships are Chrysler. Hockensmith said all of the former Tony Martens staff has stayed on, including service manager Lannie Hecker, who has been at the dealership for 26 years. He also said that plans call for the dealership to relocate in the Platte City area. “Our plan in the next 12 months is to identify property in Platte City to build a new, larger facility on,” said Hockensmith, who added that the new facility will include an expanded service department. Hockensmith, who is married with two sons, urged the public and former customers of Martens to stop by. “We wish Tony all the best and feel fortunate to acquire this dealership,” Hockensmith said. “We are here not just to do business, but to be involved in the community. We are going to be here for a while.”