The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 June 2006

Once there was a Roadmaster

Now here's a story:

In 1906 automobiles were still in their infancy and an unproven mode of transportation. Early in that year a representative from BUICK MOTOR CARS came to Quincy [Illinois] to find someone to market their automobile, Henry A. Geise Sr. was the person they chose. At the time Henry was already a well known Quincy businessman who operated a sporting goods store that sold hunting and fishing supplies as well as bicycles and motorcycles. Henry agreed to show the new Buick and was soon taking orders. Henry realized he had found a life long business. Later as Henry married and had sons Henry Jr. and Robert he realized the posibility of passing on the business to them. Today the tradition is continuing into the third generation of Geises with the latest Buicks and Pontiacs.

But this is where it ends:

Geise Buick Pontiac at 930 Maine — the oldest Buick dealership in the nation — is selling its assets to Poage Auto Plaza and will be closing after a century of service.

The dealership has been a downtown Quincy institution since Henry Geise Sr. launched the business in 1906. His sons, Henry Geise Jr. and the late Robert Geise, along with grandson Henry Geise III, continued to keep the Buick dealership going after the elder Geise retired in 1953.

"By the end of the year, Geise Buick will be a thing of the past," said Henry Geise Jr.

Geise, 83, said the time seemed right to bring an end to the family-owned business where he first started working for his father in 1939.

"It's still a profitable business, but it's much more competitive than it used to be," he said. "At my age, I just felt I'd be better off to try to sit back and relax and take it easy."

In 1906, when the Geise dealership was organized, Buick had been selling cars for a total of three years, and founder David Dunbar Buick, inventor of the OHV engine, had already been squeezed out of the company. Tough business, then and now.

(Via Autoblog.)

Posted at 8:30 AM to Driver's Seat

It is sad to watch the extinction of such family owned businesses. Hardware stores are my "thang", and we recently saw the closing of the last of the olde time locally owned hardware store in the Nashville area. The big national and regional conglomerates swallow everything in their path.

For another totally unrelated story, and a tribute ... er, uh ... acknowledgement of you, see:

Posted by: Winston at 9:10 AM on 10 June 2006