Service to remain number one priority
After Beloit Motor Company at 221 E. Main was incorporated in 1948, the family traditions of providing Beloit and the surrounding area with service and reliability will now continue through Charlie and Elaine Bowers.
The Bowers purchased the business on March 1, 2019 and GMC has recently been approved in the process. The Bowers are experienced with 31 years as Concordia Auto Mart owners. They have added a service center and body shop at that location and are now ready to provide Beloit with the same opportunities.
Charlie Bowers is originally from Abilene and Elaine is from Delphos. They both met while attending a Cloud County College class. Elaine worked for the Chamber of Commerce with networking and putting the right people together and now is well known for doing the same as a Kansas Senator in Topeka. Charlie was employed at Kling Ford Motor Company before the couple ventured into the Concordia Auto Mart business.
Not only does the couple have history through their vehicle dealership experience, Elaine's mom, Marjorie Kennedy, graduated from Beloit High School in 1958. "I remember spending my Saturdays in Beloit," said Elaine. "It is a wonderful town."
The Bowers' expectations for the renamed 'Beloit Buick GMC' business, is to remain with the same standards that have been provided with service as their main priority. The same family oriented motto will continue through the Bowers.
"We have had employees with us for 25 years," said the Bowers. "We celebrate birthdays and have good relationships and hope to continue that here."
Facelift improvements include a full open show roomwith 20-25 newvehicles on display. Some new outside vehicles will be displayed as well as used in stock inventory. A coffee bar and updated restrooms will also provide comfort for their customers.
"Right now, our number one priority is updating the shop equipment hoist, scanners, jack alignment and tire equipment," said Charlie. “We want to offer top of the line, state of the art services. Service is Everything," Along with service, the business is also hiring technicians and sales people to their line, providing more employment to the area.
Both Concordia and Beloit businesses will be able to share their staff as well as their accounts, service parts and sales department information through technology being provided by Cunningham Cable.
Inventory will also be shared from the two locations. They also will provide technician training at both dealerships.
"It is neat that we can continue a family based business," said the Bowers.
Charlie and Elaine's son Caleb Bowers, 25, will be at the Beloit location. Son Charles, 36, and wife Julie, along with their two children Kassidy and Madeline, will work in both service centers and also provide a towing service in Concordia. Their son Brice is a sales representative and sells real estate in Concordia. He and his wife Destiny have two children Georgie and Lolly.
Their daughter Haley and son in law Dirk Lowell and baby Henry reside in Wichita where Haley is a doctor. She did a portion of her KU Rural Medical Scholar training with Dr. Concannon of Beloit.
"Car business is all we have ever known," said Charlie. "It's every parents dream to have their children live close by. I feel lucky that I am the ultimate boss, until they are 40. Charles has six more years, he laughed."
Former owner, Steve Criswell, has been helping the Bowers through the transition and providing guidance about the community.
Former employee Kelly Kimerer said his dad Gene started on July 2 of 1962 and worked until his passing on July 4, 2009.
"Many employees worked at the business for decades as the business strove to continue," said Kelly. "Bud Criswell joined in the 60's. The dealership had Rambler, Pontiac, Buick and GMC until Rambler went out of business in 1965. Pontiac was discontinued in 2008-2010. The business survived many economic recessions, agricultural calamities and reorganization of GM in 2008-09. It has earned several national awards in sales and service, including the National Buick Sales Champion in 1997. Some of the prior owners of Beloit Motors included Lester Hansen, Bernard Eck, Herman Eck, John Kindscher and Ora Burden."
Criswell says the biggest and hardest change through the business would be with computers and the technology of vehicles, making it about impossible to work on your own vehicle nowadays.
"I feel good about this transition, and really want to thank all of our customers over the years," said Criswell. "I hope they support Charlie and Elaine Bowers. This will be a good change for the town and all involved. I am happy that we found good buyers and a good family to continue the business."
"It is probably one of the biggest honors to be able to buy and keep the Buick and GMC products in the service," said Charlie Bowers. "I am used to doing things myself. Offering service that is reliable, worrying about it being pleasing. We are adamant about being honest and straight forward. People don't want to be mis-lead on their vehicles and their service."
The Bowers have sold thousands of wholesale cars and have built loyalty on what they offer.
"Our biggest strive is to have our customers know how much they are appreciated and valued," said Elaine Bowers.
Bowers extend that honesty in helping others when traveling outside their area.
"When others are on the road and have problems, we can lead them to reputable mechanics when they are in need," said Charlie.
The newly owned Beloit Motors sold their first brand new Buick on Feb. 22 and look forward to offering a number of vehicles, both used and new.The metal siding outside the building will be taken off to help reveal the past. A grand opening will take place when completed.
"The building was built in the early 1900's and has been connected to transportation and services since," said Charlie. "The building really spoke to me."