Economic Woes Close Bob Williams Chevrolet

September 4, 2008 11:08:58 PM PDT
At the oldest barber shop in all of Kings County, the regulars say losing Lemoore's only car dealership is a bit of a blow. After 36 years in business, the doors are now locked tight, and Bob Williams Chevrolet is no more. Longtime Barber Rudy Estrada said: "I think the price of oil and people aren't driving as much had a lot to do with it. It's affected the whole economy."

There's been a Chevy dealership in Lemoore since 1938. Bob Williams isn't talking about the void he's left. But the dealership was one of the city's biggest tax generators for decades. City Manager Jeff Briltz said: "We're already a sales tax poor city and losing a big generating like this one hurts more than someplace else where's there's more to draw from."

Just five months ago, the Kings County Economic Development Corporation loaned him a quarter million dollars. Action News has learned he used his house as collateral in a deal the city helped broker. Economic Development John Leyn said: "We were certainly surprised to learn of impending closing from the Economic Development standpoint. We were working with Mr. Williams in terms of strengthening the business."

Just down the road in Hanford at Keller Motors, the owner is buying up Williams used car inventory and hiring most of his workers. The fellow GM dealer blames the closure on the economy and GM's plan to close smaller dealerships that aren't as profitable.

If you're a Bob Williams customer with a warranty or service agreement Keller says he will honor it. City leaders meantime say they're talking with several prospective buyers.

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