Covello Motor Company has shut its doors.
Five cars sat on the lot Monday afternoon as owner Cactus Covello and his employees prepared for their last day.
“It’s basically been the end of 55 years of business,” Covello said. “We didn’t do anything wrong, both GM and Chrysler have decided not to have a franchises in Torrington.”
Covello Motor Company was the local GM/Chrysler dealer. With the downsizing of the auto industry, both companies decided to pull their Torrington franchises.
“We decided we didn’t want to go into the used car business so… we are going to move into a new gig,” Covello said. “We are going to close and today’s it.”
Many of Covello’s employees have already found new employment, but some, like Richard Burcham, are just going to take it easy for a while.
“It’s mostly sad for the employees,” Covello said. “Richard and Barbara Givens have both been here for 40 years.”
“I’m just going to take it a little easy before I move into a new job,” Burcham said. “I’ve been here so many years that I don’t even know how to look for a job anymore.”
But, he added, more than anything, the closing of Covello Motor Company is going to hurt the community.
He worries that a lot of business will now go to Scottsbluff, including maintenance work.
“We did have a lot of local customers,” Burcham said. “We just can’t do anything for them.”
He said that after so many years working at Covello Motor Company, customers keep coming back.
“They come back every time they want to buy a car,” Burcham said. “They just come back when they’re ready.”
Both he and Covello said they would miss their customers the most.
And their customers will miss them, too.
In the last couple weeks people have been stopping in regularly to visit.
“Just stopping in and saying bye, I guess,” he said.
As of end of business Monday, Covello had worked out a deal with a local dealer to sell the remaining vehicles wholesale.
But one local man decided he would finally get the newer car he’d been wanting – and it was Covello’s last one.
“The car was just sitting there,” Lyman resident Russell Cox said. “I’ve been thinking about getting one and I just saw that one.”
Cox said he and Covello attended high school together and had known each other for a long time.
Covello Chevrolet was the sponsor for the Little League Baseball team he played on with Judge Keith Kautz, Randy Steben and many other locals.
“I’m no champion,” Cox said, “but we’d become friends over this deal.”
Cox bought his last car 25 years ago and was ready for a new one.
So he bought Covello’s used 2008 Chevrolet HHR.
“I thought, ‘that’s kind of a cool car,’” Cox said. “I pulled in and bought it.”
Cox wanted to buy and drive the last Chevrolet off the lot.
“I think what they did to (Covello) is just rotten,” he said. “He was born into that business just like I was born into this family ranch of ours.”
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