Bob Hook to stay in business

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By Lisa King

Five months after receiving a letter from General Motors informing them that their dealership was being closed, Bob Hook Chevrolet now has learned that it will be able to stay in business.

"Obviously, we're just ecstatic that we're being reinstated," said David Hook, general manager of the GM dealership on Taylorsville Road in Shelbyville.

"It was heartbreaking at first," he said. "When they [GM officials] filed for bankruptcy, they sent out two waves of letters. The first arrived in May, and a second in June, which they called a 'wind-down' letter, which means they've given you until Oct. 2010 to wind your franchise down."

Hook said he does not know what prompted the initial decision to close the dealership, because even though the economy was not what it once was, business was picking up.

"Our sales rates were increasing, and our customer satisfaction rates were high, and we were putting capitol in the dealership," he said. "Also, there's not another GM dealership within real close proximity to us, and I think when they took a second look at it, they realized that.

"So they're sending us a new franchise agreement where they're undoing the wind- down process and letting us stay for good as long as we want to be here."

Bob Hook, David's father, who owns Bob Hook Chevrolet in Louisville, which was founded in 1953, said he is also pleased.

"We're just tickled to death," he said. "Their grading period was back in December 2008. They've looked at a lot of things in their re-evaluation; our customer satisfaction was very good, and sales are increasing, and I think they realized that we deserve it."

Bob Hook said he is especially glad because this means that no employees would  have to lose their jobs.

"We're very happy for the community, because most of our employees live in Shelbyville," he said.

David Hook agreed.

"Everybody here is excited because we didn't have to lay anybody off," he said.

The Shelbyville dealership, selling both new and pre-owned vehicles, has been in business for three years. At that time, three years ago, Bob Hook bought Brinkhaus Buick-Pontiac GMC and Shelby Motors and combined the two, he said.

He added that the Shelbyville dealership has not suffered as much as it could have during its wind-down process, because he was able to send inventory from the Louisville store down to Shelbyville as the need arose.

"Now that we are being reinstated, we will be allowed to order [vehicles] directly again," he said.

Hook said the goal at Shelbyville is to sell 200 to 300 new cars in 2010.

Employees at the local dealership met the news about the reinstatement with enthusiasm.

"We are very pleased," salesman Jason Jennings said.

Salesman Jim Jones agreed.

"We're glad we'll be staying open and will continue to serve the community," he said.