Sheets GMC gets green light from GM, receives contract renewal
After a long, exhausting year full of uncertainty, Sheets GMC owner Charles Sheets can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
"A year ago today, they were canceling all our contracts and here we are. We're back in business," Sheets said Friday.
Sheets said that a year of back and forth letters, special legislation and hard economic times almost sent him to the breaking point.
"It was very trying. It was like a roller coaster ride," he said. "That summer, I was about ready to say they can have this franchise, but once I saw that legislation and got to talking with some other dealers, I could see something was going to happen."
Along with support from Governor Joe Manchin, Senator Robert C. Byrd and Senator Jay Rockefeller, Sheets said the unwavering support of the community helped him continue the fight to retain his contract with GM.
"I give people from around here a lot of credit for writing letters on our behalf," he said. "A lot of our customers wrote letters of support for our dealership to GM itself and to congressional representatives."
In December, Sheets filed for arbitration once the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 bill was passed by the senate.
Although the case never went to court, Sheets said he did lose the money from filing for arbitration.
When he received the letter of engagement from GM reinstating his dealership franchise, he withdrew the arbitration.
In order to meet the agreement of the reinstatement, Sheets had to start at zero.
"We had to get a floor plan drawn up and that took about four weeks," he explained. "We had to write a business plan for them to accept."
With the contract in hand, signed and dated on May 14, Sheets GMC is back to where it was a year ago ﾖ a GMC franchise dealership. But don't expect to see brand new vehicles on the lot for a few months.
"It's going to take awhile because GM is so far behind on orders," Sheets said. "They shut all those plants down last year. Dealerships receive new vehicles according to their allocation of the previous year and we don't have any allocation because we couldn't order any new vehicles this past year."
While some may be frustrated by the delay, Sheets exudes an aura of enthusiasm that is contagious.
"It gives us a lot more incentive and enthusiasm," he said. "We've lost a lot of the momentum over this year, but this does give us new meaning and new life."