The Thayer Family Dealerships have always been in Wood County. It was Ralph Thayer’s optimistic community vision for a business that led him to open his Chevrolet dealership in 1935 in Weston, just six years after the start of the Great Depression.
Today, the Thayer Family Dealerships are in Bowling Green and are much more than Chevrolet. They are also more than just vehicles.
Rachael Thayer-London, manager of the Chevrolet dealership, points to the family’s community foundation as the reason the company has continued to grow, despite economic downturns, gas shortages, wars and even a pandemic.
“We focus on staying local and in the community,” Thayer-London said.
The business is still family owned and operated, but much bigger. They have extensive options for cars, trucks, SUVs and EVs. Beyond Chevrolet, the Thayers now have dealerships for Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Toyota, Honda and Nissan. They also handle used vehicles.
This year is an interesting anniversary for the company. Thayer-London’s father, Paul, took over the day-to-day operations as the dealer at Thayer 40 years ago, after Ralph died in 1983.
Thayer-London has 18 years of history with the family business. Her brother Ryan and has been working there for 15 years and runs the Honda and Chrysler dealerships, and Robyn, Honda finance manager, has eight years of experience.
The corporate timeline is one of continued growth and diversification.
The current Chevrolet facility was built in 1965 and was remodeled in 2013. They added Toyota, Ford and Nissan in 1989, Honda in 2010 and Chrysler in 2020, just a month before the COVID shutdown.
Thayer-London said the biggest manufacturer news is the push for electric vehicles.
“EV sales have taken off. We sell them as soon as we get them,” Thayer-London said.
Another big change in recent times is going digital. Online transactions increased during COVID, because with the various slowdowns and stoppages in manufacturing, vehicles began to be pre-ordered anyway.
“You put your order in. The longest waits were six months to a year long, depending on the model. It was all chip-based,” Thayer-London said.
She said that things have improved significantly, with wait times down to less than four months, and some models as few as several weeks. With the greater availability, the price adjustments in pre-owned vehicles are also starting to settle down.
Thayer-London says that her feelings about the industry echo those of her family.
“I like that it’s always changing,” she said.
Even though Thayer Dealerships has had increased sales online, both locally and from as far away as neighboring states, she believes it was events like their drive-in movie nights, support of the Bowling Green Firefly Nights and local sports during COVID that helped the local community continue to appreciate the expertise of their sales staff, financing and maintenance department.
Thayer-London urges people to browse their inventory of new and used vehicles online, and set up a sales meeting or just request a quote.
If someone already has a vehicle that they service, their manufacturer-recommended parts are available for maintaining peak performance. They are the same parts the vehicle was built with, and with their large inventory, their OEM-certified parts are likely in stock.
More information about Thayer Family Dealerships can be found at www.thayerbg.com.