With three General Motors dealerships and an Airstream store in their portfolio already, actor Mark Wahlberg and dealer Jay Feldman may be at just the beginning of their auto retailing partnership.
"We have a great partnership, and we're looking for other opportunities," Feldman, CEO of Feldman Automotive Group, which has stores in Michigan and Ohio, told outgoing NADA Chairman Rhett Ricart at the NADA Show on Tuesday.
They met as partners in Wahlburgers, a burger chain owned by Wahlberg and his brothers. They started talking about the car business and joined forces to buy Bobby Layman Chevrolet in Columbus, Ohio, now Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet, in 2018. Last year, Wahlberg and Feldman acquired the store across the street, now Mark Wahlberg Buick-GMC.
But they have their sights set on a large footprint long term, Wahlberg said. "I was always a car guy, and there was always this little name — Herb Chambers this, Herb Chambers that," he said during the NADA Show, calling in between shoots for a movie. "I said, 'Jay, we've got to outdo this guy. I see his name everywhere I go in Massachusetts."
Chambers has more than 50 stores in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
"Once we struck up that [Wahlburgers] partnership, I thought, who better to be in business with?" said Wahlberg. Since then, Feldman has taught Wahlberg the business from the ground up.
The pair also helped the Columbus community during the pandemic by donating 1,000 iPads to families whose loved ones were hospitalized and couldn't have visitors.
"We want to be part of the community and any way we can help out, we will do that," Wahlberg said.