Stark Automotive announces immediate closure
In the wake of nearly 33 years of service to the Merrill area, Stark Automotive has announced the closure of its Chevrolet and Buick Auto Dealership located at N259 Brandenburg Ave. The closure was announced Monday and is effective immediately, according to Stark Automotive Group CEO Bill Stark. Tuesday afternoon, Stark cited considerable changes in the new vehicle sales industry as the key factor motivating the closure.
“Stark Automotive Group has operated many dealerships over the years, but due to changes in the industry over the last 3-4 years we’ve decided to get out of new car sales business,” he explained. “As more and more car manufacturers switch their focus to electric and self-driven vehicles, and the industry grows even more competitive, it’s no longer a viable venture in our opinion. The new car sales business will continue to drastically change over the next five years, more so than we have seen in the last 50 years. It’s no longer a viable business, not just for Stark Automotive Group, but for anyone.” Remaining new car inventory at Stark Automotive will be returned to the factory and any used car inventory will be sold wholesale.
As for the nearly 20 employees currently employed at the dealership, Bill Stark stated his employees will be “well taken care of” and may have opportunities with other businesses Stark Group oversees, although he declined to give any specifics.
Stark Automotive first opened in May of 1986 at 705 S. Center Avenue, offering a variety of makes and models including Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick, Pontiac and Cadillac. Stark relocated the business to it’s present location in 2005, in an effort to get more exposure near STH 51. Following General Motors Bankruptcy in 2008, Stark Automotive reduced it’s new inventory to Chevrolet and Buick, but continued to sell a variety of used makes and models. As for the future of the property, Stark said he is unsure if he we will retain the property for use with other business or if it will be sold. He offered no timeline for the completion of the closure, but stated efforts are underway to dispose of the remaining inventory as soon as possible,
“I would like to thank our many customers for their support over the years,” he added. “It’s been a pleasure working with the Merrill community.”