In 1994, Ken Barrett and partner Virgil Austin purchased a Chevrolet dealership with seven decades of service to the residents of Genesee County and yesterday, Barrett, along with representatives of General Motors, celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ken Barrett Chevrolet Cadillac.
On hand to present Barrett with the dealership's 25-year awards were Natalie Taylor, Chevrolet zone manager, Dan Oldham, district after-sales manager, and Weston Lee, district sales manager.
Today, Ken Barrett's employs 41 people.
The roots of the dealership go back to Mancuso Motors in the 1920s when the Mancuso family operated the dealership where T.F. Brown's and Mancuso Lanes are now. In the 1960s, the dealership was relocated to West Main Street, the current location of Ken Barrett's, and became Batavia Motors.
Dave Heinrich Sr. purchased the dealership from the Mancuso family in 1990. Four years later he sold it to Barrett and Austin. Austin passed in 2013 at age 93. Barrett said Austin continued to work up until a few months before he died.
In 2003, Barrett's built a new showroom and over the years expanded its collision center from 4,400 square feet to more than 16,500 square feet, with the most recent upgraded completed in 2011.
Ken Barrett said it's great to hit the 25-year milestone.
"You know, don't use a rearview mirror, so everything is looking forward," Barrett said. "I have absolutely no regrets. There's a lot of unanticipated challenges between the regulations and the pace of change, which we all deal with. I've been very fortunate. I should say, we've been very fortunate that we've been able to have an exceptional staff.
"And by and large, they cared deeply for the customers. They worked well together. There's a real sense of teamwork. And if, heaven forbid, a ball gets dropped, usually somebody else is right there to pick it up."
This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Salvation Army/WBTA/Ken Barrett Toy Drive, which is Dec. 13. Barrett said the dealership has contributed more than $500,000 to local organizations and charities over the years.
"We are firm believers in supporting the community that supports us," Barrett said.