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XLerate Acquires Historic Ohio Auction

By Jeffrey Bellant November 11, 2019

Columbus Fair Auto Auction may be 61 years old, but it’s the newest member of the XLerate Group.

The two parties announced the sale of the historic Ohio independent auction to XLerate on Oct. 25, after a long courtship by the auction group.

Greg Levi, president of Columbus Fair Auto Auction (CFAA), said this move was not taken lightly by Alexis Jacobs, who has run the sale since her father’s death in 1982.

“Alexis wanted to make sure her legacy and her people were protected in the event that anything would happen to her or any changes in her life,” Levi said.

“She wanted to make sure the legacy of the auction lived on.”

The deal with XLerate eases those concerns, he said.

XLerate CEO Cam Hitchcock, along with Levi and Jacobs, released a joint press release announcing the acquisition.

But Hitchcock and Levi expanded on the release in a phone call with Used Car News the day of the sale.

For XLerate, it’s an important acquisition for a group that had no sales in Indiana or Ohio.

“Columbus Fair is obviously a highly respected, independent auction with a long history of providing superior customer service to dealers and institutional consignors,” Hitchcock said.

“I’m very pleased that Alexis had the confidence in us to let us shepherd it through the next couple of generations.”

Jacobs identified XLerate as a group she would be a good fit for Columbus Fair, Levi said.

“Coming to reconcile a 60-year career, 37 of which have been on her own since her father passed away, you’ve got to believe it took a lot for her to make this decision,” Levi said.

The transition is expected to be smooth.

“Our people stay in place, my leadership stays in place,” Levi said. “As a matter of fact, Alexis is staying until the end of the year and then she’ll serve in an ambassador role with the XLerate Group thereafter.”

Levi said he and Hitchcock have a had a history going back 15 years or more. The pair both saw this as a natural fit and “culture” was the word each used to describe that fit.

“When we looked at the competitive landscape, what we identified was that XLerate’s cultural values matched ours as about as closely as we could imagine,” Levi said.

Hitchcock echoed those comment and described what he means by Columbus Fair’s culture.

“A very high commitment to customer service, a very collegial work environment and a significant commitment to supporting and serving the community where they operate,” he said. “That’s very important.”

Levi said the best practices of XLerate and CFAA will “marry pretty well” and Jacobs expressed her appreciation for the shared culture as well as the opportunities that come with it.

“The support and resources that XLerate offers to its auction family were key factors in my decision to sell to XLerate,” she said, adding that the CFAA family is excited with the announcement.

From Columbus Fair’s perspective, the move benefits employees and gives the auction a greater ability to attract more lead consignors, Levi said.

Hitchcock said it provides opportunities nationally for CFAA employees who might want look at opportunities outside of that location.

XLerate’s reputation for keeping current management teams in place and maintaining each auction’s individual culture was confirmed as Levi did his due diligence in speaking with other XLerate auctions.


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Last modified on Sunday, 17 November 2019 18:10

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