When General Motor’s financial woes began, the automaker announced it would be closing 1,000 to 1,200 under-performing locations to make the company’s other dealerships more profitable.
Don Steves, owner of Don Steves Chevrolet in La Habra, Calif., survived the first round of cuts because its business was good. But when GM filed for bankruptcy, the automaker opted to retain only the dealerships that were either in an auto mall or by a freeway.
Don Steves Chevrolet – while extremely successful – didn’t fit either category, the Pasadena Star-News reported.
But like a phoenix, the five-acre business has risen – and reinvented itself.
“It started to take shape last year when we were told we could no longer be a dealer,” said Linda Steves, who co-owns the business along with her husband, Donald Thomas Steves. “We decided right then to get into the used car business, and we started storing RVs. But we were still servicing Chevrolet warranties up until today.”
The newly christened Don Steves Autoplex & RV Center is now a bustling place, according to Steves.
“Our business is strong now,” she said. “We have a complete RV and auto center. We sell used cars, trailers and RVs. We have our own parts department … there’s really nothing we can’t take care of for any vehicle. Our RV center is very busy.”
The business handles collision repair, detailing of RVs and boats and upholstery.
Business for the revamped dealership has been steadily ramping up, Steves said, but GM’s sudden shutdown of the previous business wasn’t easy to handle.
“It was devastating,” she said. “Our community worked so hard to try to keep our business going. They wrote to Congress and we even did YouTube videos. But we have always been big in the community. There isn’t anything we don’t sponsor. We even have a baseball field named after us.”
For more information, visit www.donstevesautoplex.com.