Sheets GMC closes on Friday
Green Bank, W.Va. – Sheets GMC in Green Bank goes out of business on Friday. Clarence Sheets started the automobile dealership in 1921, selling Pontiac and Oakland automobiles. Sheets switched the dealership to an Oldsmobile franchise in 1934, which it remained until General Motors discontinued the brand in 2004. Clarence’s son Charlie, the current general manager, brought in a GMC truck franchise.
Weathering a weak economy, General Motors is consolidating smaller dealerships into larger ones. Sheets GMC was destined to be closed in 2015, when the franchise contract expired. Charlie Sheets talks about why he decided to shut the doors early.
“Well, our contract goes through 2015 – the fall of 2015,” he said. “We could stay in business here, as far as the contract goes, but looking at our past sales and the future potential, we felt that this was a timing decision, one that we should make now, while we have the ability to make that decision. Because, you know, you can stay in business too long and we have examples of people staying in business too long, with the hope that things will get better. But I think that we just have to realize what the future is and plan accordingly.”
Sheets says General Motors has been as fair as possible during the process.
“I think we just have to be realistic,” he said. “The car market is really changing. It’s changed so much in the last 10 years and I can see a big change coming in the future. If we stayed in business, we’re going to be faced with a lot more expenses. People may not realize – just to be in business with a company like General Motors, Ford Chrysler or any of the other ones – there’s a lot of fixed expenses. You have training and they take money out of your account. You don’t write those checks, they take it out. You have so much fixed costs. As a matter of fact, we have to pay them to use their own parts program to buy the parts. So overall, I feel that they’ve been fair – as fair could be.”
The manager wants his customers to know they will be taken care of.
“And we’ve also had discussions with Mitchell Chevrolet to ensure our present customers that they will have service on their vehicles and they have assured us that they will gladly take any of our customers – Sheets GMC customers,” he said. “Alleghany Motors, in Covington, Virginia, for the people living in that area, they said the same thing. They will be happy to take our customers and do warranty work or whatever’s necessary to make people happy. That was one of my main concerns when we went into these discussions with General Motors.”
Sheets urges community members to shop local.
“One last thing I would like to say – that our businesses, basically in this community, in this area, Pocahontas County, are struggling,” he said. “I would hope that all of you would support these businesses. They’re fine people and businesses. And the businesses are the ones that people always come to for donations. Scholl activities, donations, people who are sick in the community, people who’ve had tragedies happen in their life. The businesses are the ones they come to for money. And I think if we really work together as a community, we can solve some of these problems. We can’t solve them all. But it has to be the community working for the community. And it does hurt the businesses when the people go away and buy their vehicles or buy their food and groceries.”
Charlie invites the public to stop by the dealership this week to view a collection of photographs and other items from the 91-year history of the dealership.
See photos of some of those items with the news report at alleghenymountainradio.org.