Local Business News on the Southern Oregon Coast
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Ken Ware Super Store
By Lisa Carroll, Staff Writer 
Ken Ware Super Store has provided the central Oregon coastal with new Chevrolets, Cadillacs, Buicks, GMCs, and used cars since 1984. Owner Ken Ware came to the coast from the Salem area because GM was looking to put a dealer here, and Ken was looking for his own dealership. “It was a good opportunity,” he said. “It’s a nice area here.” This was Ken’s first venture and has been very successful, as you can see. Ken says Chevrolet has always been his favorite car. “Growing up, most kids wanted a Chevy. They have always been the most desirable, most stylish.”

Ken Ware and John Newsum of Ken Ware Superstore, a popular GM dealership that is very involved with the community. (Photo By Lisa Carroll)

Ken’s stepson, John Newsum,  Minority Owner and Vice President of the company, has been around the business since he was 10 years old. He played football in college, and was a working cowboy for a time.  He had spent years working in other dealerships all around Oregon when Ken called him in 1998, saying he’d like to have him here. “I was so glad to get back to my community,” he shared. “Whenever I was away, I’d get homesick for that fresh, full-of-oxygen air you get at the coast. My wife Lisa and I are raising two boys in North Bend, and all the family is here- grandparents, aunts, uncles.”

Ken Ware Super Store is most definitely a strong community player. They lend a supporting hand to causes which are far too many to list here, but one that we talked about is the North Bend Independent Baseball League, of which the dealership is a major sponsor, along with Thomas and Sons. They are currently collaborating with other businesses to revamp all four of the baseball fields in North Bend. “We’re going to rebuild the mounds and plates, and put down some Turface, which absorbs water and gives a better playing field,” said John. “It’s a community effort; a lot of local help, too, and donated time and energy.” 

When I arrived at the GM dealership, I noticed right away there was some construction going on. A chunk of turf was removed from the front, and men wearing hard hats were up on the roof. Ken informed me the store is just starting a major remodel, at the behest of the central office. The overall design of the store will be updated, with new flooring, a remodeled customer service area, and a totally revamped showroom. Via working with Tom E Gayewski Construction, the people at Ken Ware are very proud to be able to use local sub-contractors for almost every job. “Supporting our community is very important to us, because our community has done such a great job supporting us the past 29 years,” John said.

What’s the newest thing in GM automobiles these days?  I would have to say OnStar, a vehicle-contained security, communications, and diagnostics system. Now being built into more than 30 GM models, OnStar has many useful features, such as Automatic Crash Response, Navigation, Roadside Assistance and Hands-Free Calling. OnStar can help you find your lost car in a vast parking lot. Not only that, in case you locked your keys inside, OnStar can unlock the car for you as well. Also there are the hybrid electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt, a plug-in range-extended electric vehicle with an on-board gasoline generator that charges itself as it goes. The battery can power the car for about 40 miles before the generator kicks in, providing electricity to the motor and participate in driving the car. Many vehicles these days are super good on gas mileage, too. John told me their best selling car is the Chevy Cruze, a non-hybrid car that gets 42mpg highway, is classy and loaded with features.

I was curious what these guys do when they aren’t working at the dealership. While Ken first insisted he was too old to have fun, he later conceded he likes to  travel with his wife as much as he can, and that he also enjoys playing golf. John says he and his wife keep busy with their two boys, a 2nd grader and a 6th grader, and that they enjoy a lot of fishing, crabbing, and being outdoors. “This is a great place to raise kids,” he tells me. “Almost any day of the year you can go outside. You might need a rainjacket but you’re not going to freeze.” The family is also involved very much with sporting events at Marshfield and North Bend high schools. “We have a big group of friends with a lot of kids, so we’re always following some sporting event. My wife and I graduated from Marshfield the same year, but now we’re raising kids in North Bend, so we’re Pirates and Bulldogs. That keeps us pretty busy going back and forth between sporting events.”

Why not stop in and take a test drive? Visit Ken Ware Super Store at 1595 Newmark Street (right down the street from Boynton Park) to see a whole lot of beautiful new and used vehicles, and to meet the people who are proud to stand behind our community in anyway they can.  You can  also visit the website, http://www.kenware.net/ , or give them a call at 541-756-1181.
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