Bob Peck Chevrolet Closes its Doors After 66 Years

Bob Peck Chevrolet Closes its Doors After 66 Years

At the end of this month, Washingtonês automotive family will be losing one of its oldest and most respected members, Bob Peck Chevrolet, an Arlington county landmark.

Facing a decision that is becoming increasingly common to dealers in close-in suburban areas, owner Don Peck has accepted a –very substantial offer” from developers for his prime property at Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd. in Arlington that he decided far exceeds the value of his franchise.

–It was not an easy decision, but it made sense, said Peck, whoês father, Bob Peck, died in 1998 at age 84.

Born in Cleveland ,but raised in Damascus, Maryland, Bob Peck graduated valedictorian from the University of Maryland in the mid-30s, at the height of the Depression. –Times were tough, and he needed a job, so he jumped at the chance to take a job as a cashier at Ourisman Chevrolet, where he worked his way up to becoming an accountant,” Don recalls of his father.

Peck was one of many area dealers to originate in the Ourisman organization, where he met salesman Lawrence Kenyon. In 1939, the two teamed up to launch Kenyon-Peck Chevrolet in Clarendon. But with the outbreak of World War II and no new cars to sell, –they had to survive on used cars, parts and service,” Don recalls.

Lawrence left the business in the early 1950s and the name was changed to Bob Peck Chevrolet. As Chevrolet became America’s perennial sales leader, the dealership moved the showroom to its present location across from Hecht’s (now the Ballston Mall), while the body shop and used car lot remained in Clarendon. Sales flourished as Bob Peck became one of the first local dealers to appear in his own television commercials. Longtime Washingtonians still recall his memorable juggling commercials.

–During that time period, Dad was encouraged by Chevrolet and other business people to become active in the community, and he became very active” said Don, who has worked at the dealership since 1971. His father served as chairman of the Arlington County Board and of the Arlington School Board, president of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and was a charter member of the Arlington Optimist Club.

A longtime sponsor of local athletic teams, Bob Peck was selected Arlington Sportsman of the Year in 1967. The dealership was a sponsor of the 2002 Winter Olympic Torch Relay and continues to sponsor athletic teams. Bob Peck Chevrolet has also been the sole provider of Driver Education cars to the Arlington Public Schools.

Don Peck offered no immediate plans for the future, saying only it will take –the better part of a year” to get things wrapped up with the sale and closing of the dealership. The dealership is offering it’s entire inventory of new Chevrolets at liquidation prices, and Peckês loyal customer base will be handled by other dealerships.

Most Peck employees have secured positions with other dealerships, though General Manager Michael Marsden is still looking (see Position Wanted, page 4).

–Itês tough to bid farewell to our faithful customers and friendsÄthatês for sure!” said Don. –Bob Peck Chevrolet is very thankful for the support from its customers, employees, suppliers, and WANADA.”

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