Car dealer experiences excitement of shale boom

Rob Todor Dix Communications Published:

ALLIANCE — There haven’t been too many scenes like the one Larry Haidet recently experienced.

Haidet, the general sales manager at Lavery Chevrolet in Alliance, met with a prospective new vehicle buyer. The gentleman wanted to purchase a new auto for his daughter, and selected a Cadillac Escalade.

When it came time to talk about payments Haidet received his first education on this changing times in Eastern Ohio.

The buyer paid for the auto, entirely in cash.

“That was pretty exciting for everybody,” lauaghed Haidet.

So far in the gas & oil push in Stark County and elsewhere, Haidet and other dealers like him have experienced an increase in landowners making big purchases.

“What’s the term? Shale-ionaires,” said Haidet. “I kind of like that. I think it sums them up perfectly.”

Like many other industries tied to the gas and oil boom, auto dealers are experiencing an increase in traffic and sales. With the gas and oil industry here still in its infancy sales have been somewhat inconsistent, as in many other related businesses.

And Haidet, like others, expects sales will continue to grow and beieves the potential for sustained growth is high.

Lavery Chevrolet, for example, recently purchased land next to its current location and is expanding its inventory.

“Definitely the potential is there,” says Haidet. “I think it’s a little premature to say we’ve seen a big growth so far; sales have kind of been all over the board.

“But there’s no question is been the normal ebb and flow of the business, and in talking with other subsidiary companies, they’ve all experienced growth and had some months where sales fell back.”

Haidet says Lavery Chevrolet has been communicating with oil and gas companies like Chesapeake Energy, which is building a new field office in nearby Louisville, for example, to provide fleet service.

“It’s a difficult door to get open,” says Haidet, “because a lot of those companies buy their fleets on a national scale.

“But as I said, there is potential, both on a company-wide scale and with the individuals who work for them.”

And, of course, the land-owners who suddenly have spending money in their pockets.

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