Hare Chevrolet the nations oldest transportation dealership

America’s oldest continuously family-owned transportation company
is from Noblesville, Indiana
 

One of the country’s oldest transportation dealerships resides in Noblesville, Indiana. W. Hare & Son continues to hold the title of the country’s longest-lived family-owned vehicle retailer. Today the Chevrolet dealership sells about 300 cars per month and employs 150 people. You can follow a record of its history along the walls of the main show room.

Hare’s story started in 1847, which beckoned Easterners to join the westward movement in the search for gold in California. However, Wesley Hare had his own ideas about where the money was and started building wagons, carriages and buggies out of his log cabin in Noblesville. Westbound travelers stopped here for their wagons. Soon he had a thriving business and added 45 employees.

Hare Chevrolet mural 1

Hare Chevrolet mural 1
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath
The company gained its current name shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865, when son E.M. took over the business. He moved the operations into a four-story building. The manufacturing output soon grew to about 700 buggies annually.

At the turn of the century, E.M. envisioned a great future with the advent of the automobile. He started selling upstarts with names like Hupmobile, Studebaker and Cadillac. By 1912, these automobiles comprised most of his business. Bill Hare signed a Chevrolet exclusive contract in 1921.

Hare Chevrolet mural 2

Hare Chevrolet mural 2
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath
Like most other businesses, the Great Depression hit hard. Hare had to rely on its towing service to make ends meet. But, the dealership survived through these lean times.

Hare Chevrolet mural 3

Hare Chevrolet mural 3
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath
Hare faced another nearly fatal blow during World War II. All U.S. car manufacturers stopped production of cars in order to concentrate on equipment for the troops. Hare had no cars to sell for three and a half years. Survival meant the dealership had to rely on lube jobs and tune-ups.

Hare Chevrolet mural 4

Hare Chevrolet mural 4
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath
Today the dealership has weathered all the economic difficulties. In order to remain competitive, Hare had to keep up with the current marketing trends. Current managers Courtney Cole and Monica Peck, who are the great-great-great granddaughters of Wesley Hare, offer 50 service stalls, a photo booth for online ads, and about 1000 new Chevrolets in its sales lot.

Hare Chevrolet

Hare Chevrolet
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath
But they still recognize the importance of their past. As a reminder, one of Wesley Hare’s buggies hangs over the entrance to the showroom.

Hare Buggy

W. Hare & Son Buggy
Copyright © 2009 Dennis E. Horvath
 

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