ALAMEDA — City and business leaders are mourning the loss of Good Chevrolet on Park Street, which announced Tuesday that it will close its doors after 58 years.
"It's sad and I hope that everyone knows what a loss this is to Alameda," said Kurt Daubeneck, an assistant sales manager who has worked at the dealership for 22 years. "I hope that people realize what Good Chevrolet was to this town. People often don't realize what they have until it's gone."
Fifty-three people will lose their jobs as a result of the closure.
While the loss of the downtown dealership comes at a time when the nation is reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades, employees insisted the decision to close was not financial.
"We did very good just last month," Daubeneck said. "If a person has a steady job, good credit and makes decent money, they can still buy a car. That has not changed."
The loss of Good Chevrolet in Alameda — which offers new vehicles — came on the same day that Colma GMC and Los Gatos Chevrolet announced they also were closing.
City and business leaders in Alameda had already envisioned Good Chevrolet eventually shutting its doors in their plan for revitalizing Park Street north of Lincoln Avenue. The plan is expected to go before the City Council within the next few weeks.
Rob Ratto of the Park Street Business Association said he thought the dealership would close in two or three years and not so suddenly.
"It just came as a shock," Ratto said. "It's devastating for the city and it's devastating for Park Street. No one expected this."
Daubeneck said employees are also devastated.
"This was a fantastic place to work," he said. "The owner was one of the finest men you'll ever find. He's a generous, kind and caring person. It's a sad day for him and it's a sad for us."
Owner John Buono was not available for comment.
When he was a boy in the 1960s, Ratto said his grandfather used to take him to visit the dealership when new models would arrive in the showroom.
"There would be spotlights and everyone would be out," Ratto said. "Guess what? That's not going to happen anymore."
Reach Peter Hegarty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-748-1654.