Appomattox, VA - An Appomattox car dealership closed its doors for good Friday.
The owner of Cardinal Chevrolet says he held on as long he could, but the dealership was no longer profitable.
This was the last national auto franchise to survive in Appomattox County. The first one opened in 1919.
The owner of Cardinal Chevrolet says several things factored into his decision to shut down but he'll hold onto the memories fondly.
"I was the youngest Chevy dealer in the country at age 39. So, I was proud of that," Bill Burke remembered.
Since taking over Cardinal Chevrolet in the 1980s, Burke recognizes the business has changed.
"We probably did some antiquated things here, but nobody took care of their customers like we did here. Nobody," Burke said.
Burke says Chevrolet's new franchise requirements led to his ultimate decision to close. He estimates it would cost $400,000 to make the required improvements to the building, which includes adding a giant blue arch to the outside.
"That was my main concern with my exit strategy is that I didn't make an impact to the community as far as unemployment and having another building sitting vacant. Appomattox doesn't need another vacant building sitting," Burke added.
Mabry Automotive Group will lease the building under the new name Auto-Mattox.
Burke says they'll also hire 75 % of his 17 employees. So, he can look back at his time as a Chevy dealer without any regrets.
"When I signed the contract in 2010 with them, I did it for my employees and my community. I put them ahead of me personally and my family. And I'm proud of that," Burke added.