30 years and still going: Montevallo car dealership achieves milestone

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2002

The building on Main Street, Montevallo, around since the 1800s, has been a drug store, a mercantile and has even burned down and been rebuilt. Its deed was signed by the fourth president, James Monroe.

Hansel Leach, owner of Leach Pontiac-GMC, has added to the building’s rich history.

He has been in business in that very building for 30 years.

Hansel, along with his son, Don, also an owner, and his wife, Jean, the vice president, celebrated the 30th Anniversary of their business in February.

&uot;We fed a lot of folks,&uot; said Hansel Leach. &uot;We had about 200 people come&045; customers, friends, relatives and future buyers.&uot;

Montevallo Mayor Grady Parker was on hand to express his gratitude for the many contributions the Leachs have made to the town over the years. Also present were representatives from General Motors Company and General Motors Acceptance Corporation.

On display at the anniversary was the first car Hansel ever sold as a Pontiac dealer. It was a 1972 Bonneville, sold to Floyd Lovelady.

&uot;They (the Lovelady’s) lived in town. When they traded it in, I got it and put it in the garage,&uot; said Hansel. &uot;(At the anniversary), I put it next to a 2002 Bonneville just so you could see how much it’s changed.&uot;

Change, Hansel said, has really occurred all around him the past 30 years.

&uot;We used to have big trees around here,&uot; said Hansel of his Main Street location.

He remembers when he first began his business, he had a telephone with four numbers, no prefix.

&uot;It was long distance to Alabaster and Columbiana,&uot;

he said.

Hansel has made a point of keeping his family involved in his business. Not only do his son, Don, and his wife, Jean, run the business with him, but his granddaughter Jessica works in accounting.

&uot;It has been a family-oriented dealership,&uot; said Hansel.

He is proud of his family and their work in the success of his business. Together, they have earned many awards.

Leach Pontiac-GMC has gotten a number of Customer Satisfaction Service excellence awards, and Don was named a Sales Master, the highest award in number of car sales given by General Motors. Hansel also served on the Southeast Zone Dealer Council for 3 years.

After 30 years, Hansel only jokes about retiring.

Jean said that she imagines that Don will come in one day and tell his father that he is going to retire.

When Hanson asks why, she said with a smile, &uot;Don will say ‘Because I’m 65.’&uot;

There is no need for Hansel to stop now.

&uot;We’re the highest in customer satisfaction of any dealer in the Southeast,&uot; said Don. &uot;Repeat customers&045; that’s what makes our business.&uot;