A 55-year-old dealership closes, and life goes on

The last few days have been unsettling for Robert Slessor.

He went to bed Saturday night as the owner of Robert Slessor Pontiac-Buick Inc. in Grimsby, Ontario. Today, he is to be the owner of Slessor Inc., operating as Slessor Auto World, a used-car operation and NAPA AutoPro Service Centre.

Slessor is one of 21 rejected Canadian dealers who sued General Motors Canada Ltd. in November 2009.

The dealers and GM of Canada settled their differences in August. Some dealers were reinstated while others received financial settlements. The terms of the agreement prevent him from disclosing details, Slessor says.

So last week, after 36 years in the retail auto industry, Slessor took down GM signs and posters from the walls of the dealership his father started in 1955 and removed GM brochures from point-of- purchase racks.

Slessor and his brother, Blake, who is his service adviser, and daughter Lindsay, who is in charge of customer retention, spent several hours last week putting NAPA blue and gold paint on an exterior fence that once touted Pontiac red.

Slessor says that though the last few days have been bittersweet, he's not bitter.

“All parties had input into the settlement, and everybody received what they wanted -- even GM,” he says.

“I still know how to service and repair cars; I'll just do it under a different banner.”