Nashville, Tenn. - Crye-Leike Commercial of Brentwood, Tenn. has sold a 3.2 acre tract in Franklin, Tenn. to a father and son team who own Sunvertible, Inc., an upscale pre-owned auto dealership, specializing in convertibles and replacement of convertible tops.

Crye-Leike Commercial facilitated the entire transaction on behalf of both the buyers and the seller. Crye-Leike commercial sales associate Mark Parrish, a 45-year real estate veteran, served as the selling agent, representing the buyers, father Rodney Adkins and his son, Jon. Crye-Leike commercial sales associate William "Rusty" Ingle served as the listing agent, representing the seller, SunTrust Bank of Tennessee.

The Adkins purchased the property, located off Highway 96 near Interstate 65, with plans to relocate and expand their business, a move that will double their current 50-car inventory.

Sunvertible, Inc. has been in business since May 1992 and is currently located on Tusculum Road in Nashville.

Construction is scheduled to begin in November 2003 with completion expected in spring 2004. Plans include building a showroom on two acres, fronting Interstate 65, with the remaining acreage as a parking space for up to 100 convertibles and other upscale pre-owned autos. The 10,000 square foot facility in Franklin Commons Court will accommodate up to 25 cars.

The project architect is H. Michael Hindman Architects, and Solomon Builders is the contractor. The project is financed through SunTrust. The estimated value of the project is $1.3 million.

The Adkins family came to the automobile business in a somewhat unconventional manner. Rodney Adkins was formerly in the grocery business, working for 35 years for Kroger and owning and operating his own grocery store. Adkins also worked outside of the United States as a volunteer famine relief worker. While employed by Kroger, Adkins worked part time at a car dealership. After his retirement and his son's graduation from college, the elder Adkins decided to start a new career with Jon. The two examined the field and found their niche in a unique market - convertible sales.

"We wanted to find a niche market for automobiles," said the elder Adkins. "All the car dealers we spoke to said we were crazy and we'd never make it."

More than 11 years later, the father-son Adkins team proved their critics wrong. They are leaving their ? acre plot on Tusculum Road in Nashville for a 3.2-acre site in Williamson County, one of the wealthiest counties in Tennessee. According to the owners, they outgrew the Tusculum property years ago.

"We had looked at the Cool Springs/Franklin area for some time," says Rodney Adkins. "It's good to go where the money is."

The Adkins' business has seen much success, but not from the clients they originally anticipated. Only around 20 percent of Sunvertible sales are to Nashville-area consumers, they say. Forty percent of their business comes from a 100-mile radius, with the remaining 20 percent traveling more than 100 miles to purchase a convertible or other upscale pre-owned car from Sunvertibles.

According to the Adkins, two major factors have contributed to their success. Sunvertibles is a one of a kind business in the area; the Adkins know of no other competitors. Also, most car dealerships do not stock convertibles all year long, while Sunvertibles specializes in carrying convertibles year round.

"Most consumers do their homework and know what's out there," says Rodney. "Major dealerships typically try to get rid of their convertible inventory by July 4 and don't restock until January. The consumer will buy a convertible any time of year and we have the stock year round. If they want a convertible, it doesn't matter if there's snow on the ground."

The Sunvertibles, Inc. Web site (www.sunvertibles.com) has access to a virtual showroom, including 16 panoramic views of each auto on their property. Also available through their Web site are online financing, credit applications, extended warranty information, dealership contact information, and information on convertible top repairs.

"All Sunvertible, Inc. autos are certified by Carfax before being sold, as a complimentary service," says the elder Adkins. Carfax provides vehicle history reports, including records of accidents, fire damage, and odometer check. Sunvertible also completely services each car before its sale.

Crye-Leike Commercial is a full service commercial real estate company and division of Crye-Leike, Realtors, (www.crye-leike.com), the nation's 10th largest real estate company. Crye-Leike Commercial offers business and investment real estate services from its four regional commercial offices in Memphis, Nashville, Murfreesboro and Chattanooga. The commercial brokers of Crye-Leike Commercial have a 20-year history of providing comprehensive brokerage, leasing, site selection and investment real estate services to its clients.

Crye-Leike (www.crye-leike.com), a full service real estate company for 26 years, is the largest serving the Southern Region of the United States. Crye-Leike attained sales of $3.17 billion and 22,198 closed transaction sides corporate wide in 2002.