Chevy Chase Cars marks 75 years in the automobile business, in the same Bethesda location
Few, if any, Washington area dealer organizations can say, as Chevy Chase Cars can, not only have we been in business for 75 years, weêve been in the same location! Indeed, the Bethesda, Maryland dealership stands as a landmark at 7725 Wisconsin Avenue, where it has been since opening in 1939 when its founder, Arthur H. Bowis, grandfather of the current operator, John F. Bowis, launched Chevy Chase Motor Company.
A Chevrolet store from the get go, the onslaught of World War II in 1941 made it tough for new car retailers when the factories stopped making cars for the public upon radically changing gears to support the U.S. war effort . Thatês when businessmen like Art Bowis showed the stuff of entrepreneurial ingenuity and tenacity, going full bore into used car sales and auto repairs where Chevy Chase stayed successfully until resuming new car sales after the war. And what a time it was, of course, to be a new car dealer with a Chevrolet franchise, which only went onward and upward when Art brought his son, Fred (Frederick H. Bowis), into the business in the 1950s.
A lawyer by training, Fred inherited Artês entrepreneurial skills, causing one of the 16 dealership plant makeovers to build skyward into the five story sales and service operation Chevy Chase is today. About the time of the five story build-out — sometime in the 1960s– the store was renamed Chevyland . That name changed to the current one, however, when in the mid-1990s the dealer organization added other franchises, to include Oldsmobile, Buick and Hyundai, and ultimately Acura and Nissan, the two brands Chevy Chase Cars retails today.
Part of Chevy Chaseês longevity and success is what goes into any business with staying power, and that is the people on the team. The Bowis family, three generations strong at Chevy Chase, unequivocally understood this reality, thereby working and perfecting it, evidenced by the numerous dealer staff who have been with the company 20, 30 and even 40 years. A shining example of good people making it happen at Chevy Chase is Sam Weaver, Sam Weaver, Jr.ês dad, who was part of the dealership team working alongside John Bowisê dad, Fred.
So itês deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra was fond of saying, with John and Sam making the car business happen at Chevy Chase, same as their forebears, moving the needle for the company to 75 years, which was celebrated at the same location in Bethesda– albeit next door at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club — a week ago Monday, June 2. And benefits for the car business here at large are noteworthy, too, with John following his dad into the leadership of WANADA, and Sam having served in the leadership of MADA as chairman.
WANADA wishes Messrs. Bowis and Weaver, and all the great people at Chevy Chase Cars, all the best for every continued success on the companyês Diamond Anniversary.Download Bulletin PDF