Harvey McAllister was a teenager back in 1952 when his dad, Chris “C.E.“ McAllister, decided to buy a dealership on West Main Street in Chillicothe, OH and name it McAllister Chevrolet.
“As a kid, you work in the clean-up department,” McAllister tells the Farmers' Advance of his first job in the central Ohio dealership. “I remember my pay was $22.12 a week, and my father put $15 of that in savings.”
He finished high school, joined the Army, got married and in 1959 began working at the dealership in sales. He worked his way up, becoming owner when his father died in 1988.
About 10 years ago, McAllister Chevrolet, which had relocated to a larger location, was among about a dozen dealerships in Chillicothe. And there was the Ross County Dealers Assn. whose members would meet monthly at spots around town.
“It was good times,” McAllister recalls.
But over the years, local dealer numbers have dwindled to two. McAllister says the trend is to “get big or get out.” After 55 years in the community, he got out, selling to Richard Aldahan and Chuck Greene, who own a North Carolina Nissan store.
“I always said that the morning I wake up and I'm not happy about being in the business, then I'll get out,” he told the Advance. “That happened about two years ago.”