Friday, October 26, 2012
A Patch series looks at the families that built the Chicago area's auto dealerships.
This timeline allows you to flip through the Driving Legacy stories in chronological order. Editor’s Note: A Driving Legacy is a series showcasing family-owned automotive dealerships with deep roots in their communities. It is part of the Patch mission to celebrate the people, businesses and traditions that are the foundation of our lives. If you would like to be included in this series, please contact Senior Regional Editor Tara Tesimu at email@example.com.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
For the last 50 years, Marquardt Buick GMC has retained the guiding principles of its founder, Larry Marquardt.
For the last 50 years, the Marquardt family has run the Buick dealership in Barrington guided by the principles set forth by its founder, Larry Marquardt. In the early 1950’s, Larry had just returned home from serving in the Korean War and began selling cars in Chicago. “He quickly saw the lack of personal convictions, of honesty and integrity, in the industry and decided he had to be his own boss, where he could operate an honest dealership that truly put the customer first,” said Dan Marquardt, who runs Marquardt Buick GMC alongside his brother Kurt Marquardt, today. Larry began working as a sales manager for then Schauble Buick in Barrington in 1958, purchased stock in the business, and became co-owner in 1962. He bought out his …
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Napleton Ford Libertyville recently celebrated their 80th year in business, and four generations of Napleton's have continued to help the business thrive through the years.
It’s been more than 80 years since family patriarch, Edward Napleton, ventured into the automobile industry. And today, that first store on the south side of Chicago has bloomed into more than 60 Napleton franchises across four states. It all started when a young Edward, a mechanic by trade, opened the first Napleton business on Oct. 24, 1931. It was a Buick service station at 119th and Vincennes in Blue Island, Illinois, and was made possible with a $700 loan. A letter was sent out to potential customers, which family members said was written by Edward’s wife, Cordula. It announced the business’ grand opening, while promising quality and service, and appealing for loyalty as the new business launched. “Your influence and name as one …
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Reflecting on the company's modest beginnings, Knauz Autopark is celebrating its 78th year in the automobile business.
In the depths of the Great Depression, Karl Knauz and his wife Emmy began working a “couples job” for a well-to-do Lake Forest family in the early 1930’s. Karl was the butler/chauffer and Emmy was the cook. But Karl was a forward thinker, and an entrepreneur at heart. He took a chance and risked his entire life savings, and by 1934, he had opened a car service station on Western Avenue in Lake Forest. From there, he joined forces with Chrysler and opened a DeSoto Plymouth dealer in 1935, then became a Chrysler franchise in 1940. Since then, Knauz Autopark has expanded to 30 sprawling acres in Lake Bluff at Route 41 and Rockland Road. Karl and Emmy’s son Bill worked at the dealership throughout his childhood and began full-time in 1947. He…
Monday, October 22, 2012
Rockenbach Chevrolet has been around for 86 years, making it one of the longest standing Chevy dealers in northern Illinois.
In the early 1920’s, Robert Rockenbach got his start in the car business by opening Grayslake Garage. By all accounts, Robert was an enterprising individual, and an important member of the local community. A village trustee in Grayslake, Robert was always willing to lend a helping hand to a neighbor, according to his granddaughter Gail Rockenbach Vitols, who is president of Rockenbach Chevrolet today. That trait has dictated the course, and the core beliefs, of the business for more than three quarters of a century. In the mid 1920’s Rockenbach gathered together the resources, and opened the doors of Rockenbach Chevrolet Sales as its sole owner in 1926. His young son Doug was right by his side, learning the business from the ground up. He …