Sale Auto Mall owner Dan Sale gathered with his staffers, local dignitaries, customers and General Motors officials this week to celebrate more than a quarter century in business in Kinston.
“Obviously we can’t say enough good things about Dan Sale,” Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy said during a celebration ceremony Wednesday.
The event included a Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting and dedication of the Auto Mall’s renovated showroom, service area and parts department for GM vehicles — Sale also sells BMWs, Fords and Kias — the presentation of a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu to Jim Dobbins, who sank a hole-in-one during the recent Boys and Girls’ Club golf tournament, and a presentation of two plaques to Sale from GM officials in honor of his 25 years as a Buick and Chevrolet dealer.
The event was hosted by Sale and Sale Auto Mall, and lunch was provided by Queen Street Deli and Chick-fil-A.
Sale thanked his “incredible staff,” which has grown from 28 to more than 100 people since the doors opened in April of 1986, and the dealership’s customers.
“We’re a family business and we really appreciate everybody’s efforts in this community, because that’s what it’s all about, and we’re getting stronger and stronger,” he said.
Sale is a native of Ashland, Ohio, a small city of slightly more than 20,000 about 70 miles southwest of Cleveland, a town he said was “identical” to Kinston.
His grandfather Edmund Sale worked for Chevrolet during the 1940s, and opened his first dealership in Ashland in 1951.
Edmund Sale’s son David — Dan Sale’s father — opened his dealership in 1967, and Dan started working at his father’s dealership at age 14, washing cars.
Dan and his wife Cathy came to Kinston in 1986, when they purchased the U.S. 70 dealership that would become Sale Auto Mall from its previous owner, Don Keating, who had known his father.
“We grew up in a small town, so we appreciated a small town, and we wanted to raise a family,” he said of Kinston.
On Wednesday, Sale, the Kinston mayor, the staff and dignitaries first gathered outside the revamped showroom, which has a blue and white exterior, and a large “Chevrolet” sign over the door, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
General Motors — Chevrolet is one of its brands — is requiring its dealers throughout the country to renovate their facilities “from sales to service,” with blue exteriors, orange interiors, light-colored floor tiles and more, “so the cars can be the focal point,” Sale explained.
GM accounts for about 50 percent of the Auto Mall’s annual sales — brands include Chevrolet, Buick, GMC trucks and Cadillac.
Next, Dobbins, vice president of human resources at Lenoir Memorial Hospital, received the keys to the 2013 Chevy Malibu he won last week for his hole-in-one shot on the third hole at Cutter Creek golf course, during the Bojangles’-sponsored Boys and Girls Club Charity Golf Classic.
“I think there’s so much luck that goes into a shot like that. … I would never look at it in terms of my golf game; I’m a 10 or 11 handicap that just loves to play, and it’s just one of those things,” Dobbins said modestly.
Finally, Sale received what he called “the best awards I’ve ever been given,” two plaques honoring his 25 years as a Buick and Chevrolet dealer.
The plaques were presented by GM officials James Brady, Chevrolet zone manager for North Carolina, and Troy O’Neal, district sales manager and Jackie Cates, service and parts manager, both for Chevrolet’s Wilmington-Myrtle Beach district, which includes Kinston.
“Thank you very much for your dedication,” Brady told Sale during opening remarks.
Sale responded: “It’s third generation and we believe in Chevrolet.”
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