One of the city’s oldest operating businesses is no longer. Trenor Motors, family-owned and operated since 1926, was acquired Friday by SVG Motors.
Headquartered in Dayton, the SVG auto group consists of two new and used car dealerships – SVG Chevrolet in Greenville and SVG Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Eaton – along with SVG Motors, a used car dealership in Dayton.
Steve VanGorder, president of SVG Motors, said he has been in talks with Roger Tehan, owner of Trenor Motors, for the past two-and-a-half years about the possibility of acquiring the Urbana dealership.
“I’m very appreciative of Roger Tehan and his family for affording me this opportunity to be able to do this,” VanGorder said. “This is an honor to be a Chevy, Buick and GMC dealer. I’m living my dream. This is what I’ve always wanted, and I’m on top of the world right now.”
He added the plan for the 90-plus-year Urbana staple is for it to continue to operate as a Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealership under the name of SVG Urbana.
“We feel this is a great community, and there is no reason why this store can’t sell and service a lot of cars,” he said. “In my opinion, (this location) is the best piece of real estate in the county – in between the two most traveled roads (routes 29 and 36) going through the county.”
VanGorder said the dealership will tie in perfectly with his other stores, which will allow SVG Motors to continue to be home of the “Superior Value Guarantee (SVG).”
“(The dealership) just seems like it fits what we are doing with the synergies of all our other stores with our marketing and advertising,” he said. “It will allow us to have a larger footprint digitally and on television. We will also be able to offer our customers bigger discounts because we have multiple locations.”
Changes in store
VanGorder said customers who visit SVG Urbana in the near future will notice some immediate changes to the dealership, inside and outside the showroom.
“We are going to be updating the exterior right away, and we are going to brighten the showroom up,” he said. “We also intend to double the inventory, so there will be more options for the customers to shop from. You will notice the difference right away.”
As for SVG employees, customers will encounter familiar faces, some new ones, and plenty of VanGorder.
“We intend to keep as much of the (Trenor Motors) staff as possible, and we are going to be adding quite a bit of staff (10-15 people),” VanGorder said. “I also intend to be here quite a bit early on to make sure we get this store off the ground.”
Whether the faces are familiar or not, VanGorder said, employees will be donning SVG Motors’ signature bright orange shirts.
Other changes, he added, include being open for service on Saturday and longer showroom hours on Saturday.
“I think it’s exciting to be able to come out here and give the people of Urbana some more choices of vehicles and show them a different experience of how to buy cars,” VanGorder said.
For more information on SVG Urbana, call at (937) 898-1616 or visit www.svgurbana.com.
Storied tradition comes to end
According to the Trenor Motors website, the family-owned business began in March 1926 when Clement N. Trenor, along with his brothers, John and Charles, decided to take a chance on the local Chevrolet dealership.
Originally located in the old Gaumer Carriage Factory building at 310 W. Court St., a fire shortly after the dealership opened forced the brothers to move Trenor Motors to 406-410 Miami St., where it remained for just over a year.
In August 1927, the business was moved to a newly-constructed facility at 325 N. Main St. (current home of Mumford’s Potato Chips & Deli), where it enjoyed success as one of the premiere automobile sales and service facility in the country, according to the website.
Once the dealership began “bursting at the seams,” the business made its final move in 1967, one that brought it to a new state-of-the-art facility at 1100 Scioto St.
As for the transition of ownership over the years, the family-owned business was led by Clem Trenor from 1926 until his death in 1979. At that point, the Chevrolet and Oldsmobile franchise was purchased by Trenor’s son-in-law, Roger Tehan Sr., who had previously served as vice president and general manager since 1957.
Following Tehan’s death in 1991, his son, Roger Tehan Jr., who was serving as vice president at the time, purchased the business and continued to operate it until Friday’s sale to SVG Motors.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.