I think many of you may be surprised to hear that Cleve White, owner of Cleve White Nissan in Statesboro, has sold his dealership. When I spoke with White this past weekend, he confirmed the deal was signed, and as of Nov. 15, he would no longer be the owner of the dealership that he founded 10 years ago.
"Yes, it is a chapter of my life that is now closed," White said. "I have been selling cars for over 20 years, so it is sort of bittersweet in a way."
White would not disclose who the buyer of the dealership is, citing confidentiality restrictions associated with the sales agreement that he signed.
"I know that they would lke to make their own announcement, and I certainly respect that," he said. "But I wanted to let people know, because there has been a lot of talk and speculation that I have indeed sold the dealership."
I asked White why at this point and time he has decided to sell.
"I will be honest," he said. "The last two years in the car business have been really tough. Everyone knows how bad the economy has been, and that weighs on you as a businessman. The economy and the fact that I ended up with a really good deal settled it for me."
White said his agreement will allow him to stay home with his family for up to three years.
"I have worked since I was 10 years old without any kind of a break," he said. "Now, I have the opportunity to spend an extended amount of time with my family while my children are growing up. It will be something new for me, but I am really looking forward to it. My wife, however, is a little skeptical about having me home all the time."
White said he was negotiating with another party when he spoke with the group that ultimately purchased the dealership.
"It really happened over a few days, and my wife and I feel like it was just something that was meant to be in a way," he said. "I will serve in a consulting capacity during the transition, over a six-month period. Many of our employees will remain, and I am very glad about that."
White said his dealership has sold 8,000 cars in the last 10 years.
"I am very proud of what we have accomplished," he said. "I appreciate all of the support, and all of the customers that we have had over the years. I know the new owners will do a very good job."
With newfound freedom on his hands, White said he intends to focus on his family, his church, and the community boards that he is a part of.
"I don't have to rush into anything, and who knows, down the road, I might get back into the car business," he said. "I have always loved it. We will just have to see what happens."
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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