Car dealership for sale; mayor caught off guard

The head of Cleveland's auto-dealers group has put his stores up for sale, saying declining sales have hurt his ability to stay in business. Pat Norris said the Norris Auto Mall in Medina, a dealership in Norwalk and two dealerships in Burbank, Ohio, are all for sale. The dealerships sell Chevrolet, Chrysler, Pontiac, Cadillac, Dodge, GMC, Jeep, Hyundai and Buick vehicles. The Gene Norris dealerships in Middleburg Heights are not part of Pat Norris' business.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


The head of Cleveland's auto-dealers group has put his stores up for sale, saying declining sales have hurt his ability to stay in business.

Pat Norris said the Norris Auto Mall in Medina, a dealership in Norwalk and two dealerships in Burbank, Ohio, are all for sale. The dealerships sell Chevrolet, Chrysler, Pontiac, Cadillac, Dodge, GMC, Jeep, Hyundai and Buick vehicles. The Gene Norris dealerships in Middleburg Heights are not part of Pat Norris' business.

The dealership in Norwalk at Milan and Gallup avenues was cleaned out over the weekend. Cars still remain in the lot. One sales associate was in the dealership Thursday afternoon "tying up loose ends," though the lot remains open. He said there are people interested in buying the dealership and expects something to happen within the next week. He said he hopes whoever takes over the dealership will rehire all of the former employees.

The closure took Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch by surprise.

"Not a clue. The day they closed the doors I got a couple of calls," Lesch said. "I never got a call her from them. It was a surprise to me. I had just purchased a car there a couple of months ago. I was just talking to Al (her husband) about some service work needed on my car and getting an appointment."

Lesch has no official numbers, but "I had heard maybe 25 to 30 (people worked at the dealership)

"My biggest concern is for the employees. To have then come to work and find the doors closed ... it's so unfair."

Lesch said if the city had some notice, it would have gotten Job and Family Services in to help out the employees. "It's certainly a shame for the community and the employees when they don't get a fair notice." Lesch said.

"This has been a pretty tough market in Northeast Ohio," Norris told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

Norris' main dealership on Ohio 18 in Medina was open Monday after being closed last Friday.

Norris told the Plain Dealer he is looking at several options, including the outright sale of all dealerships, the sale of one or two locations or staying on as part of a partnership.

He said he is talking to potential buyers and hopes to have a deal in place soon. He added that he has no plans for filing bankruptcy and can keep the dealerships running for the time being.

Over the past year, he said, he has laid off workers and looked for other ways to cut costs.

Norris said he is at a loss to explain why sales are falling for the cars that he sells mostly Detroit Big Three products.

"We have the best product I've seen in years," Norris said. "But people vote with their wallets, and I haven't been able to capture as much of the market as I needed to."


averagejoe (Ano...

Mayor caught off guard........ What about the poor saps that bought a car from these clowns!!!!!!!! Maybe the mayor should build a few more useless roads!!!!!!!!

wonderful woman...

If they wouldnt charge an arm and a leg, maybe people could buy cars, hell cars are as much as homes now a days and they say you dont have to have good credit to buy a car, they are full of s---!!!!!! Cater to the middle class and poverty people a little.

Cm (Anonymous)

Ya you don't have to have good credit to buy a car.. but let me tell you what... they make you give an arm, a leg, a few toes and your first born when your done paying for it. People got tired of their shady ways.. gee can you tell they ripped me off too?! Whats that word.. hmm karma?!

we got hosed to...

i have to say i am not too shocked in all honesty. i saw it coming. since i was somewhat on the inside and saw the way things were run there, i expected this to happen. what this article doesn't tell you is the rest of the story BUT it will all come out eventually. it is terrible that this happened to all those employess still left there BUT to let everyone know, there were several other employees who got let go months ago and it wasn't fair to them either. it wasn't fair because these people came to work every day and did their job to the fullest and went beyond their job description to make things run smoothly but job security is pretty non-existant in the car business and no matter how much butt you kiss, you still end up unemployed eventually. what ever happened to going to work and doing a good job and being rewarded for it? obviously that doesn't happen anymore. well, i feel bad for those who lost their jobs but i don't feel very sorry for old pat norris. when you play with fire, you get burnt. it sucks but what goes around comes around and hopefully this lets him feel the way all of his employees felt when they lost their job.

Calvin Coolidge...

The loss of every local employer is a blemish on the record of the mayor as well as the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation. Claiming to be blindsighted is not an adequate explanation.

Elwood (Anonymous)

the fact that the dealership in Norwalk was staffed by liars and crooks may be the issue .

Calvin Coolidge...

Regardless of the ethical smear regarding the owners and employees, how does that excuse the stated response of city leaders who say that they were waiting for a phone call?

watch what you ...

i happen to know a salesman that worked there and he was the most kindest salesperson i have ever met. even my parents bought a car from ONLY him. the person who did not help us was the finance person who apparently forgot how to use the phone. lucklily he was picked up by another dealership who kneww he has a heart and we got a postcard from him telling us he is now there so they were not all crooks thank yu very much!!

Dee (Anonymous)

I'm not surprised at all!They are dishonest& appalling! I had bought a car from them also.Last year I had my car in for an oil change& tire rotation.{I had paid $300.00 for these services up front,when I had bought the car}.Mind you 2 hrs.after I had been waiting in their waiting room.They said it was done.Fine-I get in my car&my door would not shut,I had to pull with both hands-hard,it still wd. not shut.When it did it was not lining up&closing all the way.Loud creaking noise&a lot of grease everywhere!I took it to my brother,he has a lot of experience& knowledge in the car crash industry.He got under my car&looked my car over&he told me exactly what had happened!He called them,they talked to the mechanic,& denied everything!He called twice!They did not even want me to go back up there,to show them!They told my bro.,the mechanic is quite upset&put out that I wd.even acuse him of doing anything!I went there the next day, because they told me the guy I would need to deal with left for the day.Well I called them on it!Finally the mechanic fessed up,Butt they still would not tell me what or how it happened!!!I found out from another emloyee,the mechanic had it on the lift& it was rolling off the lift!So they did pay to have my driver door fixed& a partial paint job.Partial, they said the scrapes on the passenger side of my car was from shopping carts!This is a big lie!I had ordered a smallbottle of touch-up paint when I had bought the car, my husband said it would be a good preventive measure.Well we have never opened it.It stay's in a little ziplock bag,which we have kept closed,in my glovebox.It turns out that he had opened that &touched up my jeep with it!Not to mention,I'm a neat person& it was quite obvious-there was the paint all over the bottle& the inside of the bag!I still have several services left on my paid maintence form.I'm S>O>L>,because my husband called around to other Dodge dealerships in the area& they won't honer them!I sure as {you know what}would never take my car back to them!My door is still not right!That place should be ashamed of themselves!!!!!!!!!!And no owner or someone up there, so to speak ever even told me that they were sorry!!!

JimBob (Anonymous)

Well, Calvin old buddy, the mayor must not be doing too bad a job. Heck, no one even had the stones to challenge her in this year's election. Including those of your political party.

Upset Customer ...

Less than 2 months ago I leased a vehicle from them. This was my second purchase from them in 3 years. One reason I went back was the service department. I was always treated fairly, politly, and quickly. With this recent purchase I went ahead and purchased the service contract. After pushing many buttons to reach a live person at Daimler-Chrysler Headquarters, I am being told that this is an "unfortunate situation" and my coupons might be honored elsewhere. I have tried "elsewhere" - not a chance. What type of person can sell this great service contract to a hard working middle class customer knowing that they are closing their doors soon? I find it hard to believe that no one knew that the place was closing their doors real soon! I am now out this money and stuck with a useless service plan! I will never purchase a Chrysler again - I hope I never see my salesman at another local dealership, I purchased two vehicles from him - never again!

Calvin Coolidge...

From JimBob - "...the mayor must not be doing too bad a job." And is that what you'd call a ringing endorsement?

JimBob (Anonymous)

Calvin, Endorsement? What endoresment? She (the mayor) is running unopposed. Unopposed means she has no opponent to challenge her. The mayor needs no endorsement.

Calvin Coolidge...

JimBob, read you're own quote - it's called an endorsement.
How does running unopposed denote a political candidate's competency? Is there a follow-up on this story? Did any city leaders phones eventually ring? What is the fate of other Norwalk employers while city leaders wait for their phones to ring?