Rogers Dabbs Chevrolet
by Susan Marquez
When John Rogers and his wife, Sandra Dobbs Rogers, decided to open an automobile dealership, they found the perfect spot in what was once an old feed store in downtown Brandon. Rogers Dabbs opened its doors to the public in 1980 and is still going strong today under the leadership of Sandra’s grandson, Michael Wallis.
“My grandmother and I are partners,” says Michael. “She is the majority stockholder. I am the dealer principal, general manager, and a co-owner. I handle the day-to-day operations of the company. She still attends stockholder meetings and we talk regularly.”
Michael got his start at the dealership during college. “I wanted to earn some extra money so I worked washing cars in the wash rack for a couple of summers,” he says. But one of the salesmen convinced him to start selling cars. “I interviewed for the job and got it, so I spend the next couple of summers off from college selling cars, and I really liked it.”
After earning his degree in business from Ole Miss, Michael went to work full time at Rogers Dabbs in June 2001. “I was 21 years old, and I’ve worked here ever since.” Rogers Dabbs Chevrolet is truly a family-owned dealership. “We are a full-service dealership, and we carry only Chevrolet. We sell new and used vehicles, we do servicing, and we have a full-service body shop on site.” The Rogers Dabbs Body Center can perform the services to restore your GM vehicle’s safety, comfort, and performance, using genuine GM parts, related collision repair information and other services. They are also a business elite dealer, providing fleet vehicles for companies. Rogers Dabbs is a large parts wholesale dealer, stocking and selling car parts to other dealerships as well as independent body shops.
The dealership has come a long way since its beginning in downtown Brandon. They built a new facility on Highway 80 in Brandon, across the Piggly-Wiggly. “That is now our used car center,” says Michael. The newest version of the dealership was built at 1501 West Government Street in 2003. “That’s when we built our Chevrolet facility.” The dealership is strategically located to be easily accessible from I-20. With 25 acres, Michael says that Rogers Dabbs Chevrolet has made a big investment in Brandon and Rankin County. “We have three retail facilities, a body shop and warehouses here,” he says. “We have been blessed. Brandon is a great place to do business, and we get a lot of support from all over Rankin County and beyond.”
Michael is proud that the dealership affords so many people a good living. “We have 125 employees here, and they do a great job for us.” Michael says the community is responsible for making the company the success it is today, and he believes it is their responsibility to give back to the community in meaningful ways. “I serve on the Salvation Army Advisory Board for Central Mississippi, as well as the Bancorp South Advisory Board. I am also on the Northwest Rankin High School Athletic Board. We are deeply involved with local schools, and we support the athletic programs. We are always involved in numerous projects for charities, including the March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society to name a few.”