Northern Michigan car dealer retiring after long, successful career

Jim Mowry will officially retire from Manistee Chevrolet on Friday, Sept. 29.

MANISTEE CO, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- A longtime car dealer is set to retire after he began working with his dad and uncle in 1961.

Jim Mowry will officially retire from Manistee Chevrolet on Friday, Sept. 29.

"I began working for my dad and uncle in 1961 at the original dealership at Peanut Junction," said Mowry. "I made 10 cents an hour sweeping floors and emptying waste baskets."

Mowry graduated from Michigan Tech with a business administration degree in 1974 and had plans to work for General Motors. "I was looking for a job at the same time the Big 3 were experiencing significant layoffs. My timing was terrible," said Mowry.

It was then that he decided to work selling cars for his dad at the Mowry Buick Pontiac Dealership.

We're told that Jim sold thousands of of vehicles and kept records of every sale. "I have notebooks with all of the transactions I was a part of. We dealt with a lot of customers and made a lot of lifelong friendship."

Jim and his business partner then bought the dealership from Jim's dad when he retired in 1988. They would own and operate the dealership until 2003 when it was sold to Benchley Automotive.

"I stayed on with Benchley's selling cars for five years, between 2003 and 2008. I chose to leave Benchley's when the recession hit. Ultimately the dealership was forced to close," said Jim, who admitted it was a sad day. "GM was in bankruptcy and the future of the industry was looking pretty bleak."

"Bob Yates from Yates Chevrolet called and said he could use some help in his sales department. I was out of work for two days and I was right back to selling cars," added Mowry. Jim remained on staff when Barry Seymour purchased the dealership from Yates in 2015 and it was renamed Manistee Chevrolet. “No question, Jim will be hard to replace,” said Manistee Chevrolet Owner Barry Seymour. “He has a lifetime of experience and a very loyal base of customers. We wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

The public is invited to stop in on Friday, Sept. 29 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to wish Jim well and enjoy coffee and cake.

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