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Thomson hands over keys to dealership

October 28, 2010

After nine decades in Columbia City, a local car dealership will carry on without its longtime family name.
Effective Wednesday, Thomson’s Whitley County Motor Sales became City Chevrolet.
The dealership changed hands after the retirement of Tim Thomson and the purchase of the company by Glenbrook Automotive of Fort Wayne.
“Obviously, Tim wanted to retire and we’re actually going to keep all their employees and hopefully increase sales through improved marketing and a larger presence on the Internet,” said Doug McKibben, president of Glenbrook Automotive.
Syracuse native Jim Scarbeary was named general manager to fill the slot formerly occupied by Thomson.
“Everything they’ve (the Thomson family) done right over the years, we want to continue,” said McKibben.
“We have a sense of urgency to give folks what they’re looking for so they don’t leave town to get what they want.”
The new company is legally called Whitley County Chevrolet, LLC and will do business as City Chevrolet, according to McKibben.
William C. (Charley) Thomson had worked at Mel Miller Ford in 1917. He began a car dealership of his own in 1919 on Van Buren Street, selling Studebakers. Thomas converted the dealership to a Chevy dealership in 1921 and named the business Whitley County Motor Sales.
Charley was joined in the business by son William in 1938.
In 1968 the dealership moved to its present location east of Columbia City on 80 acres of land.
“They (the Thomson family) were in business 91 years,” said McKibben. “That’s pretty remarkable.”

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