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Apr 21, 2010 1:06 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

40-year-old Westhampton car dealership to close

Apr 21, 2010 1:06 PM

After 40 years selling vehicles, Pastor Chevrolet on Montauk Highway in Westhampton will close its doors on April 30.

Pastor Chevrolet was first slated to close when General Motors, the company that owns the Chevrolet brand, announced last year that it was shutting down 1,100 dealerships. The company, which is based in Detroit, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year and emerged with the help of a bailout from the federal government.

Owner Jeff Pastor filed an appeal with General Motors to keep his dealership open, but he was recently informed that the appeal was denied.

“I always thought we’d be here forever,” he said this week.

Pastor Chevrolet is a family business. Mr. Pastor’s father, Bernard, opened the Montauk Highway dealership in 1969. Jeff Pastor began working there when he was a young man, sweeping floors. He inherited the business about 20 years ago, when his father retired.

“Since I was old enough to put a broom in my hands,” he said, “I’ve been working here one way or another.”

Mr. Pastor said he hoped to pass the business on to his two children.

April 30 will be a normal day of business at Pastor Chevrolet, the owner said. The dealers are still selling cars, and whatever stock remains will be sent to other dealerships. But on Monday, May 3, Pastor’s 20 employees will go to work at other dealerships where they have jobs lined up.

Mr. Pastor said he’s not sure what he is going to do yet, and he is still trying to figure out what to do with the property, which measures a couple of acres.

Ridgie Barnett, a member of the Westhampton Beach Historical Society, said she was surprised that Pastor Chevrolet is closing. “We certainly don’t like to lose some of these long-term businesses,” she said.

Lee Davis, a longtime resident of the Westhampton area and a Press columnist, said there has always been a Chevrolet dealership in the neighborhood. “It means a lot to the community. Everyone used to buy Chevrolet,” he said. “People of a certain age buy nothing but Chevrolet.”

Car dealerships around the country have been suffering from the worsening economy. Locally, some have filed bankruptcy, and others have shed employees. But Mr. Pastor said that business has been good at his dealership. “We’ve been doing very well,” he said.

Mr. Pastor said he is thankful for the loyal local support Pastor Chevrolet has received over the years.

“Being a local business in a small town,” he said, “the support has been fantastic.”

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its about time
By emhersh (8), sahuarita on Apr 23, 10 9:41 PM
It's a shame losing the dealership and it's employees. I've known the Pastor's since they first opened and have bought many vehicles from them. They are good people!
By LUVSH (28), Southampton on Apr 25, 10 6:52 PM
Truly sad. Jeff is a great guy. Our family has been buying and servicing our cars with them for over 30 years. We wish everyone there the very best in their next endeavors.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Apr 26, 10 4:29 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By VKingwell (1), Manor Park on Apr 26, 10 9:20 PM
I am a second-generation Pastor Chevy buyer, with 2 Pastor Chevrolets in the driveway..... really going to miss Jeff and his excellent service department. Best of luck to Jeff and his staff.

My car has heard the news; I got a check engine light today.
By VKingwell (1), Manor Park on Apr 26, 10 9:21 PM
I'm not sure what the legalities are and who owns the land, etc., but here's a question I wouldn't mind seeing answered.

If Chevy cancelled the contract with Pastor, why can't he change the dealership to sell Ford, Toyota, Honda, Kia, etc.?

I notice the dealerships in Riverhead change brands sometimes.
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Apr 30, 10 10:15 AM