The owner and operator of the local Chevrolet dealership has announced plans to retire.
Leon Stribling announced Monday that Friday, September 15th will be the last date for the business operation of Stribling Chevrolet.
In a prepared statement, Stribling said, \" In accordance with the terms of the Dealer Sales and Service Agreement signed by General Motors Corporation and myself as Dealer Operator, I have exercised my rights to terminate my personal services agreement with General Motors\".
The 2006 Chevrolet models will be the last Chevrolets that Stribling's company will be selling in Smithville.
A replacement dealer has not yet been named.
Stribling says \"To our many friends who have favored us with your business over the years, may we say that serving you has indeed been our pleasure.\"
Stribling and his brother Tim Stribling came to DeKalb County in 1976 to join Amonett-Nixon Chevrolet, then owned by Leon's former father-in-law, Jim Amonett and his partner, John Robert Nixon. Amonett was the dealer of record at that time. Leon Stribling says \"Being associated with these men of honesty and integrity was quite an honor\".
Stribling Chevrolet, Inc. was formed in January 1984, when Leon Stribling was named by General Motors as dealer for the Chevrolet franchise in DeKalb County. Stribing says \" At that time, my brother Tim, and I purchased the assets of Amonett-Nixon Chevrolet and for the last 22 years, Stribling Chevrolet has served our friends and neighbors\".
Though he and Tim were new to this area, Stribling says the community welcomed them with open arms. \" Tim and I were most impressed by the willingness of the community to let newcomers become involved. One or both of us has served as President of the Smithville Rotary Club, Chairman of the DeKalb County Planning Commission, President of the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, Coordinator of the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree, and member of the Industrial Development Board of the City of Smithville. Additionally, Tim has spent countless hours and days in involvement with the youth of the community in sports related activities. The community would be well served to afford the next Chevrolet dealer the same welcome extended to us 30 years ago.\"
Stribling paid tribute to his employees, both past and present, for being the strength of the company through the years and he reminisced about the retired staff members. \"Who will ever forget Joe Goodwin who would converse with you for hours and sometimes days and then sell you a car or truck; James \"Pig\" Trapp, a brilliant man who chose working on automobiles as his profession and how fortunate we all were to have known him; and Walter C. Phillips, long time body man who worked on cars when there was heavy metal steel in them. Walt wore out many a hammer for us.\"
Stribling also praised the current staff members, \" Parts Manager Ricky Nixon, our longest tenured employee with 32 plus years of service. Mr. Reliability; Melinda Willoughby, Business Manager for the past 19 plus years. My confidant and shoulder to cry on; Tommy Garrison, talented technician with 22 plus years of service; J.B. Williams and Clay Myers, Service Department personnel with 14 and 7 years of service respectively; and Kitty Thomas, Saturday office staff with 15 plus years of service. What successes have accrued to us, we credit our staff.\"
Stribling concluded by saying \"As for those who know us best will attest, Tim and I have dedicated the last 30 years to nurturing our customers, our employees, and their families. Tim and I are thankful for the opportunity the community has given us. Thanks for the memories and God bless.\"