SANDY – Long time Layton automobile dealer Jewel Lee Kenley has been inducted into the Utah Automobile Dealers Hall of Fame.
She and two other dealers were inducted prior to the opening of last weekend’s 2014 Utah Auto International Expo at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy.
Kenley’s late husband, Ed, received the same honor many years ago. This was reportedly the first time that both husband and wife auto dealer owners have been so honored.
She said it was her “strong maternal feeling and employee support” that led her to carry on in her husband’s place.
Her son Brett said, “When my dad passed away there were a lot of rumors. My mother said we’re all going to stay, grow together.”
Kenley singled out seven key employees who have been with the dealership for 20 years or more.
“They have been my friend, co-worker and business partner. They have become like family,” she said, adding, “These guys are the engine. I’m simply the car ornament.”
Ed Kenley Ford was founded by Ed and Jewel Lee Kenley in 1981. It has expanded from those humble beginnings, and today includes seven businesses.
Jewel Lee Kenley was named Utah winner and nominee for the national award of “Time Quality Dealer” given by Time Magazine in 1997. She has also received the Davis Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, Woman in Business Award and Legacy Award.
In addition, Kenley was named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Utah Business Magazine. She was listed as owning the 251st largest women-owned businesses by Working Woman Magazine in 2001.
“My mom always wanted Ed Kenley Ford to be an exciting place to work,” Brett Kenley said.
That includes carrying on what he called an “old Southern tradition” of management and spouses gathering on New Year’s Day to start the new year and make plans together, he said.
For customers with kids, it means a candy treat delivered personally by Jewel Lee Kenley, and a personal phone call thanking each customer who purchases a vehicle.
He cited the Ed Kenley Amphitheater in Layton as a major contribution to the community and dramatic arts by his mother, as well as her willingness to help nearby Hill AFB, in particular.