It’s December, and Step One Automotive Group is definitely in the holiday spirit.

The Florida-based dealership group has begun its 25 Days of Giving at its 20 locations in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, with each store spreading holiday cheer in various ways to those in need. The initiative began Dec. 1 and runs through Dec. 24.

The company said its dealerships are dedicating their efforts to give back to their communities with events ranging from acts of charity to supporting local initiatives.

“It’s our way of showing appreciation for the communities that have supported us throughout the year,” Step One said on its website and social media channels.

Events on dealership calendars include delivering gift baskets for teachers, participating in a telethon to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, events for Toys for Tots and Habitat for Humanity, pictures with Santa and many others.

Marketing director Maureen Bierman said this is Step One’s “favorite time of year. We get to go out as a team and make an impact in our communities. We cannot think of a better way to spend the month of December.”

Houston Ford dealer sponsors NIL deal for college basketball player

Chastang Ford has joined the University of Houston men’s basketball team. But not on the court.

The Houston dealership has entered into a sponsorship deal with Cougars senior guard Damian Dunn, in accordance with the NCAA’s 2021 ruling allowing college athletes to accept benefits and earn money from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

Chastang general manager and chief operating officer Patrick Chastang said the dealership connected with Dunn through LinkingCoogs, a collective set up by UH boosters to enable such deals.

“As a long-time supporter of the UH athletic program, we continue to look at new ways to help facilitate the program’s visibility,” Chastang general manager and chief operating officer Patrick Chastang said. “We are also committed to the success and well-being of University of Houston student-athletes.

“Damian’s exceptional athletic ability, maturity, and leadership qualities — on and off the court — make him an ideal brand ambassador.”

Dunn is a graduate student who transferred from Temple University, where he averaged double-figure points in each of his three full seasons, including 15.4 points per game last season. Through eight games this season, Dunn is averaging 8.1 points and 2.1 rebounds per game for Houston, which is ranked No. 3 in the nation in the latest Associated Press poll.

“It’s gratifying to know that the Chastang family has supported the Cougars for generations,” he said. “I know I’ve picked the right school — and city — when I think about how much love and loyalty Houstonians show the team. I’m looking forward to feeling that on the court this season.”

The Chastang family has been heavily involved in UH athletics, including previous NIL deals with football players Clayton Tune and Donavan Mutin, and donations to the TDECU Stadium building campaign and the planned Memorial Hermann Football Operations Center. Meredith Chastang services on the UH Board of Visitors and Patrick Chastang is on the Athletic Director’s Advisory Council.

Hudson Automotive acquires SC dealership

Hudson Automotive Group has acquired Vic Bailey Automotive in Spartanburg, S.C.

The sale includes all five of Vic Bailey Automotive’s dealerships – Vic Bailey Honda, Subaru, Ford-Lincoln, Mazda and Volkswagen.

“We’re honored to welcome Vic Bailey Automotive to our growing business and are excited about our continued expansion in the Southeast,” Hudson Automotive founder and president David Hudson said. “We thank the Bailey family for their trust in us to continue to grow what they have built.”

Hudson Automotive now operates 52 dealerships in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio and Alabama.

“It is not an easy decision to make without a lot of soul searching and forethought when considering the sale of your family business,” Vic Bailey Automotive president Vic Bailey III said. “All the Bailey family members are very proud to have served the Spartanburg community for all these years and for the reputation we have built during that time. We will miss seeing our customers and the great family of employees every day.”

John Davis, managing director of Haig Partners, which represented the seller, said the sale illustrates “the demand for acquisitions in growing markets, particularly in the Southeast.”

“The I-85 corridor through upstate South Carolina is a rapidly growing market,” Davis said. “The expansion over the past decade and the potential for further economic development in the future are off the charts, as this area will continue to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the country. Dealerships in this region will continue to command high prices thanks to the rapidly increasing population and economy.”