Courtesy of the 8-19-15 edition of Ida County Courier (www.idacountrycourier.com)
Mark Hansen Rex Chevrolet celebrating 90 years in business
Odebolt’s oldest family-owned business, Mark Hansen’s Rex Chevrolet, GMC, Ltd., celebrated its 90th anniversary Friday with an open house. The business is also the second-oldest Chevy dealer in Iowa.
Current owners Mark and Pam (Rex) Hansen purchased the business from Pam’s dad, Ronald Rex, and took over on April 1, 1989.
Pam said, “On Nov. 3, 1911, Swiss race car driver and automobile engineer Louis Chevrolet co-founded The Chevrolet Motor Car Company in Detroit with William C. Durant and investment partners William Little and Dr. Edwin R. Campbell. In 1913, Durant introduced the now familiar bowtie emblem. The Corvette was introduced in 1953 and the Corvair in 1960. I have a 1967 Corvair. The longest-lived continuous automobile nameplate still in production in the world is the Chevrolet Suburban.”
After serving in World War I, Pam’s grandpa, Floyd Rex, returned to Odebolt and worked in the service department at Einsphar Buick Car Company. In 1922, the Rex Tire and Battery Company was founded on the corner of Third and Willow Streets.
In 1925, Rex Auto Company was founded. They sold Chevrolet and Dodge cars and trucks. “My dad always told me that the first Chevrolet vehicle was ordered in 1925 and arrived in 1926,” said Pam. “The Odebolt Fire Department’s 1926 fire truck (often used in parades) was bought from Rex Auto Company.”
Pam said, “The Dodge franchise was dropped in 1929, and the business moved to First and Main Street. The following year, the business was forced to move and a brick building was built on First Street, across from the current Farmers Cooperative Elevator Company of ice and scale.”
In 1940, Rex Chevrolet purchased a building on Maple Street (now Hemer’s Plumbing and Heating) and, in 1945, at the end of World War II, the building was remodeled and moved into as the new Rex Chevrolet Company. In 1950, a parts room was added and, in 1958, Ronald Rex purchased the business from his dad. A used car lot was purchased adjoining this building in 1959.
“Pam and I bought the business from her dad and I started working here on April 1, 1989,” said Mark. “One day, I was working at the bank; the next, I was in the car business.”
“This is the fifth location for the business,” said Pam. “In 1972, we bought the land and put the new cars out here on Highway 39. The office was a small trailer. Mark was spending so much time traveling from the highway to downtown, we decided to move everything out here. In March 2003, construction was begun on the new shop and office, and we moved here around Creek Days that summer.”
Mark said, “The biggest change in the auto industry since I took over in 1989 has been the internet. In the old days, people came in, sat down, test drove a vehicle and then bought it. Now, they do a lot of online shopping. A lot of deals start on the internet. Call me old-fashioned, but I like having them come in and take a drive. The nice thing about the internet is they can shop online 24/7. Every dealership has their own website and usually subscribes to a couple others. We subscribe to AutoTrader.comand Cars.com.”
“The other big thing is the vehicles we’re selling today are a lot more expensive. When I started in 1989, $2,500 would buy a nice school car; now it takes $7,500. The warranties on today’s vehicles are so much better—100,000-mile warranties. Today’s vehicles are designed for low maintenance. In the old days, we did a lot of repair work on vehicles. Now, it’s just oil changes, tires and batteries.
“I will say one thing about Rex Chevrolet—Ron had a good customer base and we’ve built off of that and took it to the next plateau. We are so thankful for our loyal customers and their repeat business. We offer great customer service, and that success is due to good employees. We don’t have turnover; all of our employees have been here a long, long time.
“To have two successful car stores in this town is because the residents of Odebolt and the surrounding area are very loyal to their local dealers. That speaks loudly as big-name companies get closer.”
Pam said, “We are working on the fourth generation in the business. Our oldest son, Chris, is the parts and service manager and our daughter, Rachel, is the business manager.”
“I love my job; I can’t wait to get up and go to work. Every day is different, and there’s never a dull moment in the car business,” said Mark. “We are working on the fourth generation now. Where will we be in the future? That depends on what GM does with dealerships in small towns. We recently signed another five-year contract with GM, so we’ll be here at least that long.”
Filing to begin for open city council, mayor seats
Persons interested in running for open seats on area city councils can begin filing nomination papers Monday, Aug. 24. Nomination papers must be filed with the county auditor. Papers are available from city clerks and must contain a minimum of 10 signatures of eligible voters from that community. The deadline to submit nomination papers is Thursday, Sept. 17.
In Odebolt, there are four council seats up for election. The council seats up for election are Jim Scott, Todd Bengford, Lee Hemer and Ruth Ann Mohr. Hemer and Mohr were appointed to fill unexpired terms.
The deadline for voter preregistration is Friday, Oct. 23. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Area students return to facility updates, new teachers
Area school officials report that they are nearly ready for classes to resume and highlight some changes students will experience on the first day of school.
Classes begin Monday, Aug. 24, for Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove.
O-A/BC-IG Superintendent Terry Kenealy reports in the O-A/ BC-IG newsletter, “Staff in both districts kept busy preparing for the new school year. The transportation department is preparing for the first day of school so that they will be ready to ensure that all students get to the correct location without any problems. The administrators and staff have been working nonstop to get the materials and equipment needed to make the start of school especially meaningful and the administrators have been busy recruiting and hiring new staff members so that the district will have all programs properly staffed and ready to go by the irst day of school.”
The technology department has a new student, parent and community notification system that is integrated with the JMC Student Information Portal. Parents are able to select notifications be sent by email, text or phone call.
If you are a member of the community who is interested in receiving school alerts and notifications, contact Julie Weeda at email@example.com call 712-364-3371, ext 236, to be added into the new system.
O-A/BC-IG High School Principal Patrick Miller notes, “On Aug. 21, from 9 to 11:45 a. m., there will be a freshmen academy held at the high school for incoming freshmen. During this session, students will run through a mock schedule, have an opportunity to learn about technology options and listen to coaches and advisors about activities offered.”
Visitors are reminded if they need to enter the high school during the school year, enter through the east doors, across from the office. Report to the office when you enter the building and a visitor pass badge will be provided for you.
New staff at O-A/BC-IG High School includes: Taylor Clark, ag education; Benjamin Mauritz, instrumental music, and Jacob Pedersen, vocal music.
O-A/BC-IG MiddleSchool and O-A Elementary Principal Doug Mogensen said, “I look forward to the start of the new school year and the opportunity to help students learn and grow to achieve at their highest level. A slight change in school hours will help improve bus transportation for students. School hours for all students in the Odebolt building will be 8:30 a. m. to 3:30 p. m. Breakfast will be served starting at 7:50 a. m.”
To help ease the congestion after school, all buses will load students on the west side of the building. BCIG middle school students riding the bus will now exit the school using the northwest doors. The Odebolt building received some changes over the summer, including new paint in the gym and in stairwells. The gym floor has been sanded and waxed and new concrete around the building will provide for safer foot traffic and an overall clean appearance.”
Staff changes at the Odebolt building include: Reeann Marra, fifth grade; Brittany Liechti, third grade; Ashley Wittrock, fourth grade; Emily Moore, K-8 art; Linda Johnson, K-8 music; Carrie Gorden, preschool teacher; Charles Hugo, physical education; and Mistaya Hoefling, curriculum director.
BC-IG Elementary Principal Alan Henderson reports: “We are excited about the new addition for the school, including three new classrooms and a new gym. Along with the addition, there have been updates in the classrooms, including new carpet, bookcases and cabinetry. All of these improvements help show our community, students and staff that we care for them and want to create the best environment we can for our students to be successful.”
Third and fourth grade students can expect a major change this year. Teachers will be switching half way through the day. Three teachers will teach literacy for both third and fourth grade. Three teachers will be teaching math, social studies and science. This will allow teachers to focus on certain areas of instruction to help students improve.
New elementary staff at BCIG Elementary include: Holly Nuetzman, special education; Lisa Henderson, KEY; and Jami Boege, physical education.