BOURBONNAIS — It’s been a role-reversal at two of the mainstays of new vehicle dealerships in Bourbonnais.
Rather than the sale of new vehicles making the news, it is the sale of the dealerships grabbing the spotlight.
The David Bruce Auto Center, a Bourbonnais-based Toyota and Cadillac dealership since October 1987, was recently purchased by Greg Chip of Munster, Ind., and Bill Kelly, who had an ownership stake in the dealership, and will be known as Cadillac and Toyota of Bourbonnais.
This purchase will be Chip’s third new car dealership. He operates a Nissan dealership and a Kia dealership in Merrillville in northwest Indiana. He noted he been involved in car sales for more than 20 years.
“It’s our intent to grow in this community. We are looking for ways to expand our brand here,” Chip said. “This is a solid community and we can pull from surrounding communities. We are honored to be part of this market.”
Just down Latham Drive, Napleton’s, a Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz and Mazda dealership, changed hands on March 8 when David Nocera, of Orland Park, and Daniel Sunderland, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., took possession of the business from Bill and Paul Napleton, of the Chicago suburbs. Nocera and Sunderland have been business partners since the mid 1990s.
The former Napleton’s dealership will be known as Bourbonnais Motor Cars and will sell Mercedes-Benz and Mazda, but no longer Lincoln.
Nocera is involved in the ownership of Mercedes-Benz of Orland Park as well as Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vans of Orland Park.
Transaction figures were not disclosed.
“We are excited to be in Bourbonnais,” Nocera said. “We love this town. We are looking at this for years to come. ... We are looking to grow the business.”
He noted the Orland Park car dealership has 130 employees. Bourbonnais has 23. They are looking to expand the workforce as well.
He noted new car inventory has already been expanded, saying there are currently 30 new Mercedes vehicles on the lot.
“We pride ourselves on how we run our dealerships. We are looking forward to investing in the future,” Nocera said.
Concerning David Bruce, longtime owner Bruce Dickstein, 67, said selling his ownership stake had been something he was considering for the past five years. The time and opportunity finally meshed early this year.
“I feel really good of the legacy of David Bruce moving forward,” Dickstein said. “All of the team [approximately 50 employees] will remain in place. That was important to me. This team had become part of our family,” he said.
Dickstein is, of course, moving on with mixed emotions. He knows the business will be in good hands, but he will miss the interaction as well.
“I’ve absolutely enjoyed what I did, but you move on in life. This is my next stage,” he said. He remembered the time when he was the only dealership near the end of Latham Drive. Today there are a trio of new vehicle dealerships along Latham.
Bourbonnais Mayor Paul Schore said the previous owners served the community well. He is excited about the new investors and what they will bring to the region.
“The revenues these dealerships generate is important to us. These revenues help keep our taxes down. We look forward to having them in our community,” he said.