“If we want things to stay as they are . . .”

“Things will have to change.” That wonderful line from the movie The Leopard has been going through my mind ever since I first read the talk about the GM bankruptcy.

I grew up in a car dealer’s household. A small-town auto dealer like my dad did a lot more than sell cars.

He was on any board that asked, from the Chamber of Commerce to the school board (yes, apparently it’s genetic) to the church board.

He served on the committees that raised money to build a new high school, a community swimming pool, a new wing for the hospital, an addition to the church . . .

He sponsored Little League teams and ads in the high school musical.

And so did every other car dealer I ever knew. These businesses were part of the fabric of small towns.

I know GM will emerge from bankruptcy. I know that many car dealerships will survive. But today, I’m feeling incredibly sad for the businesses that won’t continue.

And for the small towns that will miss them

5 thoughts on ““If we want things to stay as they are . . .””

  1. Kris,
    The impact is greater in small towns though. I did an article earlier this year about what losing one or more dealerships would mean to Williamsburg. In smaller communities the car dealerships are often the backbone of the business community, the people who serve on the local Chamber of Commerce, etc. The impact on the families of the auto workers who’ll lose their jobs is also tragic. Too bad we can bail out financial giants who spent their time wagering on derivatives, but we couldn’t save the jobs of American workers who actually build a useful product.

  2. Steve – good point. But I will venture that even in places like Fairfax County, we’ll see a negative impact on small community-based projects that need funding or just good workers to roll up their sleeves.

  3. These are some of the hardest-working, most involved business people there are. But they made bad business decisions — they CHOSE to tie their fortunes to manufacturers who won’t make what the consumer wants.

    I truly do not believe the government or the unions will give us what the consumer wants either. We’ll see what we can buy in five years.

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