Largest Chevy dealer in nation closes

September 25, 2008 

A company that went from a single Columbus automobile dealership to the largest Chevrolet dealer in the nation is gone.

Bill Heard Enterprises announced Wednesday at 4 p.m. that it will cease operations at its 13 stores -- including the flagship Bill Heard Chevrolet in Columbus — effective immediately.

"If this could happen to Bill Heard, what does that say about any institution in this town?" said Rick Tipton, who had picked up his kids and brought them to the dealership to witness the end of a Columbus icon. "I just can't believe it."

In a four-paragraph news release, the company said: "The company had worked to develop and implement a strategy and a course of action that would enable it to operate successfully; however, the conditions necessary to sustain the business through the current challenges were not present."

It is unclear what will happen to the dealerships. But company officials have been in talks with multiple parties about the possible sale of the dealerships. One of those is NASCAR team owner and automobile dealer Rick Hendrick, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

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