CLARION – The sales department of a Clarion car dealership has closed indefinitely, and while the business owners are staying mum about the future of Seidle Chevrolet Buick GMC, the recently ousted general manager has cited a family dispute as the reason for the uncertainty.
Signs went up at the dealership Friday along Main Street in Clarion stating that the sales department is closed indefinitely. Owner Doris Seidle did not respond to a message for comment, and newly named general manager Tim Seidle said Monday that he had no comment at this time.
A comment issued late Tuesday by Kyle Suba, East Coast Lead, Chevrolet Communications, stated that: “We are currently in the process of working with Seidle Chevrolet on appropriate next steps. Due to the ongoing nature of our efforts we have no comment at this time.”
While Doris Seidle and Tim Seidle are not talking, the long-time general manager of the business, Tom Seidle, who says he was fired by his mother from the position several weeks ago, said on Monday that there was no reason to put the livelihoods of 35 employees on the line over what he considers a family dispute.
Tom Seidle, who lives in Seminole and is a Mahoning Township supervisor, said Monday that the dealership, founded by his great-great-grandfather W.H. Seidle in 1932, was doing very well in all aspects, including the sales and service departments.
“We had been really busy,” he said.
On the morning of Monday, July 22, Tom Seidle said his 85-year-old mother, Doris, offered him the right of first refusal to buy the business and when he declined, she fired him.
Tom Seidle said that his brother, Tim, who had been in charge of the company’s bookkeeping, was appointed to run the business.
After he was fired, Tom Seidle said he started to get used to the forced early retirement, but that he heard last week that the sales department had been closed, and it appears that other parts of the business will close soon.
Tom Seidle alleged that his brother had cut pay and benefits for the employees, which prompted a number of the workers to seek jobs elsewhere. He said he heard that the sales department was down to one salesman, and that it was possible General Motors intervened when it learned of the staffing issues.
Tom Seidle said that rumors that there were financial problems with the dealership are not true.
“There’s no money trouble up there,” he said. “We’re not snowed under with bills. It’s a profitable business.”
Tom Seidle said he is concerned about his customers, many of whom have been buying cars and getting their vehicles serviced at the Clarion location for generations.
He said on Monday that he has confirmed that both Redbank Chevrolet and Brookville Chevrolet have agreed to service all of the Seidle customers’ vehicles under the same circumstances, including the free state inspections for those who purchased a car at the Clarion dealership.
With Doris and Tim Seidle staying quiet, it remains unclear what the future holds for Seidle Chevrolet Buick GMC. However, Tom Seidle speculated Monday that it’s no easy task to shut down a dealership.
“There’s two issues here: the property and the franchise,” he said. While he noted that Doris Seidle could sell the property, General Motors has control over the sale of the franchise.
He also disputed rumors that the business is for sale, noting a group of people was ready to buy it, but was told it’s not for sale.
“The statement that it has been for sale for months is not true,” Tom Seidle said.