From left: Malcolm Ball, Jean Ball, Carter Ball, Page Ball and Joey Fore celebrate Page’s 25 years as the locally owned business’s Buick and GMC Dealer.
Many businesses come and go, but there are the select few that weather the severe economic downturns and changing times to not only remain in the game, but stand tall as local mainstays.
In Tappahannock, Bareford Buick GMC is among the select few.
The local car dealership that is said to have begun on a tree stump has been meeting the transportation needs of customers for 67 years, and Page Ball has ensured the business’s success as the Buick GMC Dealer for the past 25.
In 1989, Page, whose achievement was recently celebrated by staff, took over the business that started out as a Buick franchise in 1947. Joey Fore, Vice President and general manager of Bareford Buick GMC, relayed the story of how Page’s grandfather Nathan Bareford, who was also in the lumber business, met with a Buick representative from Detroit and signed the contract for the franchise on a tree stump in the woods.
Page’s mother, Jean Ball, ran the business as operating manager from 1947 to 1987.
Following Page’s transition into the Dealer position, Bareford Buick GMC has seen tremendous growth, particularly within the past five years. The showroom and facility have been completely remodeled, and the inventory has grown in leaps and bounds since the 1940’s and 1950’s.
“Now, we’re still a small-town dealership, but we’ve got 150 cars on the lot,” Fore said before recalling how they had found an old sales ledger book while straightening out the dealership for the renovation.
“Everything was by hand and it had sales entries for—a new Buick was $3,100 and the trade-in was $1,000,” Fore said. “It’s just kind of interesting how dramatically things are changed; now a new Buick’s $50,000, $40,000.”
With time and population growth, Fore noted how the dealership has gone from selling five to 10 cars a month in earlier years to upwards of 40 to 50 cars a month.
He added that the remodeled facility has made the dealership a more attractive and inviting place for customers to not only buy their vehicles, but also have their vehicles serviced.
—See the full story in the August 6 edition of the Northern Neck News!