- The Washington Times - Friday, July 13, 2007

The Washington Times

Ted Britt was born and raised in Junction, Texas. After school he became a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and eventually settled in the D.C. area. He met his wife here in the 1940s, and the couple lived in Alexandria. Mr. Britt became a car salesman for Floyd Akers, owner of a well-known Cadillac dealership, and soon proved himself to be an astute businessman.

Mr. Britt grabbed the opportunity to start his own dealership and in 1959 opened “Texas” Ted Britt Ford in the Fairfax area known as Kamp Washington.

Back then, the area was sparsely populated. Route 29 wended its way toward Warrenton from its intersection with Route 50, a mile or so from the center of the town of Fairfax. The only area attraction in 1961 was Old Virginia City, a small amusement park constructed as a wild West town, featuring steam train rides, mock holdups, bank robberies, vaudeville acts, gunfights and a half-dozen Western buildings. It was jointly owned by local TV kiddie-show host Pick Temple and was located just down the road from the new Ted Britt Ford dealership.

Gardner Britt, Mr. Britt’s son and the dealership’s president, recalled how few people lived out in Fairfax in those days. “When we moved to Fairfax in the early ‘60s, there was nothing out there, but my father knew the area was going to be heavily developed.”

Mr. Britt certainly knew what he was talking about, of course, and over the next 40 years, Fairfax County became what it is today — one of the most densely populated areas on the East Coast. Gardner Britt took control of the dealership in the late ‘70s and immediately put his children to work. The father of seven, he sensed the appeal of children in advertisement. His boys took naturally to the camera, and anyone who was around the area in the early ‘80s is bound to remember those Ted Britt Ford TV ads. The oldest of those children, Gardner III, is now 29 and General Manager of Ted Britt Suzuki.

Gardner Britt carried on his father’s innovative ideas, and in 1987, he was the first to offer service loaner cars to customers. This now-commonplace marketing courtesy is one of the keys to the successes enjoyed by the Britt sales organization.

He moved the dealership around the corner to the intersection of Jermantown Road and Route 50 in 1988 to allow the dealership to grow with increased customer demands.

Ted Britt died in 1996, but his legacy is well maintained by Gardner Britt and other family members. The Ted Britt Auto Group now includes Ford of Chantilly and Suzuki of Fairfax.

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