For more than 50 years, the intersection of Central Avenue and National Road has held a special spot in Lisa Renner’s heart.
The Renner Motors dealership owner housed her Ford and Honda dealership at 3055 Central Ave. since taking over the family-owned business from her father in 1998.
Recognizing that the Ford and Honda franchises in Columbus each needed a separate facility to grow, Renner has moved her Ford dealership a short distance away and sold the Honda franchise to Hubler Honda.
Renner Ford is now located at 3040 N. National Road, across the street and down just a bit from her former location.
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“It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do,” Renner said. “I grew up in this building, coming to see my dad, then worked alongside him for 30 years.”
But after battling breast cancer and losing both her mother and father, Sharon and Keith Renner, in the past four years, along with other personal challenges, Renner gained a different perspective on life and decided it was time to simplify.
When the time came to decide which franchise she would keep, she decided to “stick to her roots” and remain with Ford.
Renner said her father Keith took her home from the hospital in a 1962 Ford Thunderbird, and she’s been a Ford girl ever since.
Renner said she considered several prospects to purchase the Honda dealership and settled on Brad Hubler, owner of the Hubler Automotive Group.
“My main concern was for my employees who would be working for the new owner of Honda and making sure they were a community-minded dealership,” she said.
Renner Motors has relocated to the former Bob Poynter Hyundai dealership location.
For that to happen, Bob Poynter consolidated all of his Columbus automotive operations, including Hyundai, on his lot next door. Bob Poynter Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Hyundai will be operating from 3020 N. National Road.
“I wanted to be on National Road because it’s always been the mainstay,” Renner said. “It’s next to the Chrysler and Hyundai store, which is a draw itself, and it’s next to Kroger, which is a nice big draw. It’s an ideal location for Ford, as well,” Renner said.
Renner has 30 Ford vehicles on her lot, with 30 more expected to arrive by mid-month. She said the new lot has greater capacity than her previous one, giving her more space for both pre-owned and new Ford vehicles.
Sales started immediately in the existing showroom, but Renner said she has invested in building both the Ford parts and service departments. New lifts, tire equipment and brake equipment has been purchased and the shop is up and running, she said.
Auto history in Columbus
The late Robert W. Mahan established Columbus Lincoln Mercury in Columbus.
The name changed to Mahan Ford Sales in 1957 after another local dealership went out of business and Mahan purchased the Ford franchise. Renner’s father, Keith, began working for Mahan as a sales associate in 1962, the year Lisa Renner was born.
In 1974, Mahan Ford Sales obtained the Honda franchise and started selling and servicing Hondas along with Ford vehicles. The company was renamed Renner Motors in February 1986 and was run by Keith Renner until Lisa Renner took reigns of the business in 1998.
When Lisa Renner graduated from high school, she vowed to never work in the auto industry.
Renner graduated from Indiana University with a degree in business, but found her way into the automotive business just the same.
“My dad and Mr. Mahan talked to me about sponsoring me in a program called the National Automobile Dealership Association’s Dealer Candidate Academy for people wanting to get into the car business and learn every aspect of all the dealerships,” Renner said.
She spent a year at the academy, then came back to Columbus to work with her father.
“That was the best decision I ever made — getting to work alongside my dad,” Renner said. “He was not only my dad, but my mentor and my best friend.”
Rick Bush and his wife Jane of Columbus are longtime Renner Motors customers, having purchased nearly 10 vehicles from Renner over more than 20 years.
“We’ve always been very satisfied with Lisa and the dealership,” Bush said. “She’s always been willing to help in the purchase of our new vehicles.”
Likewise, Tammy Hanner and her husband Bryan of Columbus have been Renner Motors customers for more than 20 years, purchasing a variety of Fords and Hondas from the dealership.
The sale took Tammy Tammy Hanner by surprise.
“I said, ‘Oh wow!’” Hanner said. “It was shocking, but if it’s good and makes her good money and everything else, then all is well.”
The Hanners have a lasting friendship with Renner, dating back to high school in the 1970s. Hanner said Renner has always worked with the couple to get the best deal available and find what they want.
“Her business, her work ethic, what she gives back to the community — all these things make her a vital part of Columbus,” Tammy Hanner said.
While Hanner and her husband will continue to purchase their Ford vehicles from Renner, she said they will branch out to Hubler for their Honda vehicles.
Location: 3040 N. National Road, Columbus.