The dealership that time forgot
Roanoke, Alabama, is a small former mill town 60 miles southwest of Atlanta. Main Street has a scrubbed look, but many of the stores are empty. And although Roanoke once boasted four automobile dealerships, all that remains are an empty Ford store and the ghost of Dunn Chevrolet/Oldsmobile, with peeling paint and thousands of square feet packed with almost 70 years of memories.There's a picture at the link:
In 2007, James Dunn closed the General Motors Dealership his father opened in 1940. Though he retained the sad-looking building that had been built as a livery stable in the 1920s and later served as a bus station, he sold the contents to Keith Rowell and his brother-in-law, O.W. Taylor.
And a whole bunch more pictures here.
It's kind of a weird snapshot, a dealership frozen in time. It shut down in 2007, with inventory dating back some 50+ years. It would be very interesting to see how much the inventory is worth - OEM parts for cars from the 1950s are few and far between, and this may be one of the very last opportunities to find actual, honest-to-goodness GM replacements.
I know the libertarian side of me should shrug off the loss of the dealership. One of the things that led to GM's downfall - or at least the need for them to be bailed out - was that they seriously overpopulated the landscape with dealerships. Heck, in the city of ~ 60K next to the town I grew up in up north, there was a Cadillac dealership, a Chevy dealership, a Buick/GMC dealership, and an Oldsmobile dealership all in the same small city. With, mind you, more dealerships in the city next to it, and even more in the larger city two towns over.
I can't help thinking, though, of the hundreds or thousands of stories those dealerships could tell. Having many friends in the business, from mechanics to sales guys to detailers, as well as having installed stereos and tinted windows for years, I know how some dealerships can become almost familial. It's kind of sad how sterile and corporate most have become today, but again, Libertarian Jay knows that's what they have to do to survive...
But damn, that '57 Bel Air convertible damn near makes me weep...
That is all.