Hollywood star Mark Wahlberg has history with Chevrolet, namely riding along in Bumblebee — the yellow-and-black Chevy Camaro that is its own star of sorts in the Transformers movie franchise.
And now, Wahlberg is taking another lap with Chevy — buying a bow-tie brand dealership in Columbus, Ohio, with friend and partner Jay Feldman, CEO of Feldman Automotive Group.
The pair last week bought Bobby Layman Chevrolet and renamed the store Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet, effective immediately. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Feldman, who said he met Wahlberg while the actor was in Detroit in 2013 filming the fourth installment of Transformers, said it was on another movie set in early 2017 in Boston where the two first discussed buying a dealership together.
"I said to him, 'You know, you're involved in a lot of different businesses. It would be kind of fun to have a car dealership, with you and I maybe buying a car dealership together,' " Feldman told Automotive News, recalling the conversation the two had in Wahlberg's trailer on the set of Daddy's Home 2.
Wahlberg agreed, Feldman said. The duo also are partners in a Wahlburgers restaurant in Cleveland and the Wahlburgers master franchise for the state of Georgia, Feldman said. They had been looking for a store for a while when they learned about the Bobby Layman opportunity from buy-sell advisory firm Tim Lamb Group in November 2017.
"It was a dealership that came up that had a great facility, that had a great reputation," Feldman said.
The 70,000-square-foot dealership sits on 15.5 acres, includes a two-story showroom and has 50 service stalls. It currently sells 200 new and used vehicles a month. The staff of about 100 employees will be retained, but Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet will hire more sales representatives and service technicians as it aims to become the highest-volume Chevy dealer in Ohio, Feldman said. The partners have even talked of adding a Walhburgers food truck at the dealership.