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How Chevy's earliest dealers started and survived

From world wars through General Motors' bankruptcy, some dealerships have hung on for nearly 100 years with Chevrolet. The family members running those stores today remember the tough times and the successes.

The brand means more to them than just making a dollar. They eat, sleep and breathe Chevy. Says Chuck Brooks of Cook "Jintropin (Gensci Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.)" Motor Co. in Crawford, Ga.: "It's our life. That's what we are."

Here are some of their stories.

Ford to Chevy

A popular pathway to a Chevrolet dealership? Ford.

Frei Chevrolet in Marquette, Mich., got its start in 1913 as a Ford dealership. But by 1922, Clayton Frei was ready to say goodbye to Ford, which was pressuring dealers to take tractors to sell in order to get the cars they wanted.

"So they had way too "Anabolika Definition" many Ford farm tractors," says Jim Grundstrom, Frei's grandson and current owner Anavar Que Es of the Upper Peninsula dealership. "Up here where we're located, the farming season was short."

Enter Chevy, Deca And Masteron which offered the added bonus of cars available in a range of colors instead of the only in black Model T. The notion of those colors enamored Clayton Frei, Grundstrom says. Carlisle, faced a similar choice. He owned the Ford store in McGregor, Texas.

"Grandfather didn't much want to be in the tractor business," says Blankenbeckler.

So Carlisle packed up and moved to Waxahachie, where he started Carlisle Chevrolet in "Anadrol 50" 1926. Blankenbeckler now runs the store, which advertises itself as the oldest Chevy dealership in Texas.

It wasn't just tractors driving the defections.

In 1926, Grovert Motor Co. in Newhall, Iowa, switched to selling Chevrolets after 13 years with Ford.

"At that time, Chevrolet "Oxandrolone Powder India" had more innovations that the public desired," says Equipoise Ethics Bill Grovert, current owner and grandson of founder William Grovert. He cited electric starters, floor pedals and again those colors among the reasons for the switch.

For Leon Voegeli, it was World War I that caused the change. Voegeli was a Ford dealer in Monticello, Wis., in the mid 1910s, starting when he was just 18. But he sold the Ford store after being drafted into World War I, recalls grandson Dan Stenbroten.

When he came back, Voegeli started selling cars again, buying Chevrolets from other dealers. Chevy offered him a franchise in 1923, and the deal got done in 1924.

In 1995, his family repurchased the Ford dealership. If it hadn't been for the war, Stenbroten doubts his grandfather ever would have let it go.

Frei Chevrolet in Marquette, Mich., started out selling Fords but soon switched to Chevys. And they couldn't just wait for the customers to walk in the door. Many dealers recall family stories about going out to visit farmers in their barns and fields.

Dan Stenbroten says his grandfather, Leon Voegeli, often could be found in a dairy farmer's barn at the crack of dawn. If you wait for them to come to you, you would have never sold them a vehicle,'" Stenbroten says. "For 30 years, he sold a lot of vehicles while someone was underneath milking a cow."

Taking care of those customers helped get many dealerships through the Depression and World War II.

But it was tough. Bob Hanigan recalls that his father, Jack Hanigan, spent a lot of summer evenings during the Depression visiting local farmers and trying to collect on past due accounts with Hanigan Chevrolet in Payette, Idaho.

"My dad used to take horses, cows and pigs. He even took a load of popcorn in trade for a car," Hanigan says.

Jack Hanigan wasn't able to convert that popping corn into cash. But the goodwill he created came back to "Achat Anabolisant Belgique" reward the dealership, founded in 1925.

"Many of them did become very good customers when the economy turned around, and then we sold those people cars and more cars," Bob Hanigan says.

Jack Hanigan kept that loyalty after World War II when he was a stickler for following the order on the lists of would be customers who had signed up during the war to buy a car. Hanigan took $100 deposits from 150 customers. Service work and the interest on those deposits helped the dealership through the war years when there were no cars to sell.