Many Grass Lake area customers will now have to go to the Art Moehn dealerships in Chelsea or Jackson for service as Grass Lake Chevrolet closed its doors this past Monday.
By John Hummer Editor
Grass Lake Chevrolet, which has been a fixture on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Norvell Road since the mid-1990s, officially closed its doors permanently on Monday of this week. Chris Kudner, pictured left, president of Art Moehn Auto Group which bought the dealership in March of 2021, said the decision to close its doors was made just a couple of weeks ago in mid-March. Ironically, in 1995, John Kudner bought the dealership from the Moehn family and in 2000 broke ground on the present dealership showroom. “We received an offer from somebody to purchase the property – that is what really set it in motion,” he stated. “We didn’t want to leave a big vacant piece of property in Grass Lake – that was not our objective by any means. Once an offer presented itself, we took a hard look at it and made the decision that it would be better for our operations to have two [dealerships] instead of three.” (more below)
The offer on the Grass Lake Chevrolet property has been accepted, Kudner stated. “In cooperation with Chevrolet, we have to go through the steps. We have an accepted offer – yes – but we can’t put the cart before the horse. The deal is not done.” Kudner said he is not at liberty to say who purchased the property, though he did say it is a local person or entity in Grass Lake. “It was just a profitability decision since we have the two other dealerships in the market as well,” Kudner stated. In the middle of March, Grass Lake Chevrolet had a waiting list of customers waiting for cars to be built and shipped. “You would think that a waiting list would be good, but unfortunately it’s the opposite – it means that we can’t get cars,” he said. “We have a waiting list because there’s nothing coming. That’s been a little bit of a challenge the last few months.” Kudner noted that used car dealers don’t have that problem. “New car dealers rely on what comes from the factory, and if it doesn’t come, there’s nothing to sell.” (more below)
Grass Lake Chevrolet most recently employed 13 people. Seven of the 13 were placed in jobs in one of the other two Art Moehn dealerships in Jackson and Chelsea. The remaining six are receiving severance packages. When the decision was made to sell the dealership, employees were only given a seven-day notice about their jobs ending at the dealership. “That is true, but we’re paying them for longer than that,” Kudner said. “Unfortunately, with the nature of General Motors and being a franchise with them, it had to be confidential to a certain point.” Further, Kudner said Chevrolet is weeding out small dealerships like Grass Lake’s – essentially anything smaller than Chelsea where the annual volume of vehicles sold is around 500. The Grass Lake Chevrolet customer base will now be part of the Art Moehn Chelsea dealership’s territory. “This will make the Chelsea store a little more viable and larger,” he noted. Any remaining inventory from Grass Lake Chevrolet has already been moved to the other stores. In terms of service, former Grass Lake Chevrolet customers now will have to choose between the Chelsea or Jackson dealerships – both dealerships within about a 13-minute drive from Grass Lake. In cases where it is hard for a Grass Lake customer to get their vehicle to one of those dealerships, Art Moehn Auto Group is offering a pick-up and delivery service out of their Chelsea dealership. Kudner emphasized that the offer is for former Grass Lake Chevrolet customers only. For customers in that situation, they can call Art Moehn Chevrolet in Chelsea at 734-475-8663 to make arrangements.