By BOB MUDGE
VENICE — Bill Buck Chevrolet, a fixture in the Venice business community for more than 50 years, has been sold.
The buyer is Ocala-based Jenkins Auto Group, which owns a variety of dealerships there and in Leesburg, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Georgia, according to a news release announcing the sale.
The dealership, at 2324 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, is now known as Jenkins Chevrolet of Venice and Ken Wesenberg is the general manager.
It’s the first Chevrolet dealership in the company’s holdings.
“We are very excited to welcome the Chevrolet brand into the Jenkins Auto Group,” said Tom Formanek, president and CEO, in the news release. “This acquisition continues the forward-moving trajectory of the Jenkins Auto Group.”
The sales price was not disclosed.
Robyn Calkins, the owner of Bill Buck Chevrolet and the granddaughter of Bill Buck Sr., the founder, had disclosed the sale in an email earlier in the day.
“It is with a heavy heart, but a very thankful one also, I am announcing that Eric (Calkins, her husband and co-owner) and I have sold Bill Buck Chevrolet,” she wrote. “I had always hoped that it would stay in my family for generations but my daughters’ lives have taken them on a different path and I am so proud of them.”
Buck had already been a Chevy dealer for 20 years in Michigan when he moved to Venice and acquired Duncan Chevrolet.
Altogether, he would be a dealer for more than 64 years, a record in General Motors history.
He died in 2012 at the age of 97.
The dealership has been active in the Venice community and especially has been a booster of Venice High sports programs. Both Robyn and Eric Calkins are VHS alumni.
According to its website, “The Jenkins Auto Group is very active in the communities where our dealerships operate.”
United Way of Marion County, the Boys & Girls Club and the Special Olympics are among the organizations the company lists as receiving sponsorships.