KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Representatives with Nissan visited Central Texas Friday to recognize the Bates Family with an award honoring its 45 years of service as Killeen's Nissan Dealer.
Mr. Jimmy Bates started working for the United States Postal Service soon after graduating high school and marrying his high school sweetheart, Ms. Gailya Taylor Bates in 1956.
He worked alongside his brother Robert for a little over 10 years delivering and sorting mail until Jimmy decided to try something else.
Jimmy Bates' father, James Bates, had run many businesses in Killeen, but was always most fond of the automobile business, especially used cars. "Used cars is where the money is," he would always tell his sons.
James Bates operated several businesses to include auto supply stores, used car lots, and even a Rambler/Fiat dealership in Killeen.
The Bates brothers wanted to supply import cars, a "better line of automobiles," Bates said.
In August of 1974, a Datsun sign went up and the Bates were officially in the car business, becoming Bates Marine and Datsun.
On September 24 of that same year, the very first load of Datsun vehicles arrived.
"There was nothing over 3 to 4 thousand dollars brand new back then," Jimmy said.
Come 1984, Nissan in Japan had decided it was about time it marketed its cars under the parent brand's name, Nissan.
Bates Marine and Datsun then became Bates Marine & Bates Nissan. Later, the Bates family decided to sell the Mercury Marine franchise and the name changed for one last time, to Bates Nissan, Inc.
Bates constructed its new, larger building in 2005.
The Bates enterprise has grown with son Bobby Bates now serving as Executive Vice President plus 79 employees currently on site and still looking to grow!
The dealership is located at 5501 E Central Texas Expressway.
Bates Nissan is proud to be the only import franchise in Killeen owned and operated by the same family since day one, which might indicate the reason that their slogan for so many years was "We Treat You Like Family."