Ricky Miller is a household name in Jackson County. From his love of Jesus to his love of everything Jackson County, he is known to all. Miller addressed the Marianna Rotary Club Wednesday, and as only Ricky can do, he captivated the audience.
Although, he was jovial, his message was sincere and serious. Miller, his wife Tami, ad their son Dustin are moving out of their comfort zone of the Chevy story. Later this year, they will be opening Miller-Miller Nissan on Highway 90 East. Miller told of his 35-year marriage to Tami, how they met at Chipola College, and worked together at TG&Y, and now live on Watson Drive where they used to court. Tami is now working side-by-side with Ricky at the Chevy dealership. In his words, they are pulling a George Jefferson and ‘Moving on up to the East Side.”
He outlined the building process for Miller-Miller. He said for it to be a successful dealership and business, he had three simple requirements: Product – Location – People.
Miller has the product he feels, “Nissan Alliance will battle in years to come with Toyota/Volkswagon as the world’s largest name plate. We feel we have an excellent product to sell.”
He feels he has the right location, “Thanks to Robby Roberts for finding us a great location! From CVS to Hopkins is the most traveled part of the county. So, we feel we have selected a great location.”
And he’s pretty confident he has the most important piece of the puzzle with a great team of managers, “Dustin Miller, Vice President, Michael John Mitchell, Executive Manager, Curtis Rogers, Sales Manager, William Long, Business Manager, and Zach Gilmore, Marketing & Used Car Manager. In parts and service, we have Gus Parmer, Parts Manager, Jonathan Swearingen, Fixed Operations Director, Allen Welch, Parts Counter Manager, Andrew Newton, Parts Warehouse Manager, and Jessie Hales, Service Writer.
Miller outlined the Nissan dealership and what it will bring to Jackson County, “The store will be 19,825 square feet of sheer beauty. It will employ 35+ full time staff and two-part time staff. We are the 2015 and 2016 Award of Excellence Dealer for Nissan.
He thanked those who have been with him and have been instrumental in this project coming to fruition, “I would like to take time to sincerely thank Paul Donofro with Donofro Associates, Sidney Goocher with Enco Construction, your Rotary President - Joseph Alday, Gene Strickland with Anderson Columbia (Superman of moving land), Jonathan Fuqua with Tommy’s Glass - (Glass Dr.), Steve Couturier with Economy Air Conditioning and Heating, James Crawford with Crawford Landscaping, Roofer with Kent Construction in Chipley, Lawson Electric - their foreman lives in Marianna, Masonry Owner - Lives in Marianna.” He thanked what he referred to as the three wise men, Mr. Harrison who always left him with ‘Don’t embarrass us’, Mr. Rahal who told him to run the store like it’s on the front page, and Judge Hatcher, who tells him daily, ‘Wait a minute, let’s think about that.’ He acknowledged people who have helped him with issues he’s faced, Jackson County Commissioner Jim Peacock, Job maker Bill Stanton, Malone Mayor Gene Wright and classified them all as ‘movers and shakers’.
Miller expressed concern over the process of the pre-building requirements he went through with and the future of Jackson County. Miller said, “While I stand here proud of the new Nissan dealership and the jobs it will create for the county, I must express my personal concerns of the process that I have been through and how it affects growth in Jackson County. Three things that are on the rise in our county are poverty, jail population, and unemployment. We at the dealership are getting more and more of the same excuses through our BDC (Business Development Center) that calls everyone from just bought to hasn’t serviced with us in over six months. We bought in Dothan or PC - we service there also. We love ya’ll, but just couldn’t find a job in Jackson County so they buy and service where they find jobs for convenience. That’s really sad and if it affects us, it affects every business here.”
Miller talked of the success that he wanted to see in the future. He wants to see his son, his younger employees buy their first home, have children, and raise their families. He wants the Quen and Ann Rahal Trust to pay for his employees’ children and grandchildren’s tuition and books at Chipola College.
Miller concluded with, “See, I love Jackson County! It’s our home! If I’m fortunate enough to have grandkids I want them to be able to come back home and work, raise families, and take care of me and Tami. Let’s get rid of the “everyone wants credit attitude” and UNIFY and everyone will benefit! Does it really matter what city a business locates in, as long as it’s in Jackson County? We all should win - we all should be happy. It’s all about jobs and growth and giving the next generation the opportunity to come back home to Jackson County. This should be our legacy we leave to generations to come. We can’t sell Jackson County blindfolded. We need a sales plan - a vision - and a UNIFIED county and its cities. And, we need to be fair to everyone - including existing businesses that want or have to expand and grow. No one person is smarter than all of us together. ONE RACE - ONE GOD - ONE FLAG - AND ONE COUNTY.”