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After 45 years, Dearth Buick GMC sold
MONROE - After 45 years, a Monroe business icon changed hands last month when Dearth Buick GMC was sold July 26.

The business was one of two Monroe car dealerships owned by Monroe resident Chuck Dearth. The other, Dearth Motors, is still owned by Dearth.

Dearth sold the dealership to CSM Companies Inc., a prominent truck provider in the Midwest.

Dearth said he has sold cars all his life - his father and uncle opened Dearth Motors in 1948, three years after he was born.

"It's all I've ever done," Dearth said. "All through high school I worked with cars."

Throughout his career, Dearth said, he has seen dramatic changes in America's car marketplace.

"It's obviously changed dramatically," Dearth said. "Customers are more mobile now. It's easier for them to go more than 50 miles to buy a new car."

Dearth said that the relationship between car manufacturers and dealers has changed as well, but not necessarily for the better.

"Manufacturers have made it harder for dealers," Dearth said. Dealers "have to work with smaller profit margins now."

Dearth experienced this change firsthand in 2009 when a restructuring by General Motors meant the dealership could no longer carry Cadillacs.

Despite occasional hardships, Dearth said his dealerships weathered tough storms since they began.

"I started working in the middle of a three-month-long GM strike," Dearth said. "I had to learn fast."

Dearth's businesses even made it through the 2008 auto industry crash largely unscathed. Although the crisis and subsequent economic recession caused customers to become more conservative in their car purchases, sales did not drop significantly, Dearth said.

Dearth credited his businesses' longevity to Monroe's stable economy.

"Monroe hasn't changed too much," Dearth said.

Dearth also thanked the many people he employed over his decades-long career.

"My business, like any other, could not have survived without a great many people working for me," he said.

A lifelong Monroe native, Dearth said he would retire after the sale, but would remain in Monroe.

"I've never really wanted to leave," Dearth said. "We'll keep going to our grandkids' sporting events and everything. We'll still be busy."