Editor's note: This article has been updated to show Ray Huffines was 31 when he became the dealer at the family-owned Chevrolet in Plano and that the Chevrolet Pontiac Buick Company J.L. Huffines, Jr. owned was located in Commerce.

As the current president and CEO of Huffines Auto Dealership, Ray Huffines represents the third generation of the 100-year old family-owned and operated business. Huffines says while some things have markedly changed over the century, such as technology and the amount of employees, others have remained the same.

“Our core values are RISE—respect, integrity, selfless service and excellence,” Huffines said. “They weren’t always identified with my grandfather and father going way back but they were always the values.”

The backstory

J.L. Huffines, Sr. opened the first auto dealership in Denton in May 1924. That was a Willy’s-Knight, Overland dealership which later became the maker of Jeeps. In 1927, he opened a Chevrolet dealership in Lewisville.

Ray said trips to his grandfather’s dealership in Lewisville, when he was six or seven years old, make up his first memories of his family’s business.

“I would go to my grandfather’s dealership after hours and pick up coke bottles and I’d also load the coke machine,” Ray said.

Ray’s dad, J.L. Huffines, Jr., owned a dealership in Commerce. When Ray got his driver's license at 15 years old, he drove his first car, a 1968 Camaro from Greenville, where his family lived, to work at Huffines Chevrolet Pontiac Buick Company in Commerce.

Over the years, he worked as a mechanic’s helper and in the parts and sales departments. In 1984, when he was 31 years old, Ray became the dealer of the family’s newly opened Chevrolet dealership in Plano.

The framework

Ray said he was around his dad and grandfather a lot and absorbed their interaction skills.

“My dad always taught us to be generous, not to brag,” he said. “Watching my grandfather and dad it's about valuing people and relationships. That would be the number one thing, respect for other people.”

Marking a milestone

To celebrate the company’s 100-year anniversary, anniversary receptions were held at all 10 locations throughout the metroplex May 6. This summer, the company will host an event at Circle R Ranch for all Huffines’ team members and their families featuring games, live music, barbecue and more.

Going forward

Ray said he knew from a young age he would follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. He said he has three brothers but they all chose different career paths.

“It is difficult for a family business to go three generations for a lot of reasons,” Ray said. “First off you have to have someone who is willing and capable. You might have someone who is capable, but not willing. You might have someone who is willing but not capable.”

Ray has three daughters and one son. His son, Sam Huffines, is the only one of his children who has shown interest in continuing the family business.

“It would be nice [for Sam to continue the family business], but I don’t ever want to put pressure on him," Ray said. "My son can do whatever he feels called to be. He is capable.

Notable quote

Regarding his thoughts on the family business reaching the century mark, Ray said some of that has to do with the type of dealerships they have been.

“If we were a Saturn dealer or Oldsmobile dealer, those are gone,” he said.

He also points out that North Texas' growth has contributed to their longevity. However, he spotlights his faith when explaining the company’s staying power.

“Ultimately, it's God who has done this,” Ray said. “I can see many things that happened where I wanted to do this and I didn't because God had a different plan and it worked out a lot better. I can’t really take credit, because I know God has blessed us.”
  • 1024 S. Stemmons Freeway, Lewisville; 1400 S. Stemmons Freeway, Lewisville
  • www.huffines.net