Seventy-five years of Chevrolet sales at North First Street and Division Avenue end today with the closure of Bruce Titus Chevrolet.
The dealership was among 1,100 General Motors told last spring that it wouldn’t renew their franchises in October 2010.
“Our lease was up in March, so I just decided we should take an opportunity to get out when we had a good chance,” said dealership owner Bruce Titus.
Titus sold the car repair business to his cousin Jamie Will. Will plans to open a service and tire repair business today in the former Chevrolet garage Thursday.
The former Bruce Titus lots across North First Street from the dealership are expected to become independent used car dealers.
The federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program helped Titus pare down his inventory before the closure. The remaining new Chevrolets he sold to his cousin for his Titus-Will Chevrolet dealership in Olympia.
“I think it will be a good deal for the neighborhood,” said Titus. “They’ll still have a place to get their cars serviced in the North End, and it will save the jobs of a number of my former employees.”
Meanwhile on the building’s ground floor, Stadium Thriftway is expanding its footprint into part of a bodyshop.
The demise of Bruce Titus Chevrolet ends some 75 years of new car sales in the building. Titus had owned the Chevy franchise there for five years. Friendly Chevrolet had occupied the building for half-a-dozen years before that.
Walker Chevrolet, Friendly’s predecessor, had been in the building since 1934, said Rick Fields, service manager at the new repair business.
Titus said that absent General Motors’ notice that his franchise would be ended, he would still be in business at 633 Division Avenue.
“We did a nice business there,” he said. “The facility was getting a little old, but it fit in well in the North End.”
General Motors is reducing its dealer network to match it better its reduced car sales market share and overall new car sales declines.
The nation’s largest car maker reorganized its operations under bankruptcy. In the process, in addition to closing dealerships, the company announced it was ditching its Pontiac brand and shuttering plants throughout the U.S.
Today the company announced it was shut down its Saturn operations after negotiations to sell it to the Penske Automotive Group collapsed.
Bruce Titus won’t be out of the car business with the Chevrolet dealership closure. He has seven other new car stores in his automotive group.