Before Westview Motors, Inc. opened more than 50 years ago, co-owner Greg Goolsby remembers being a kid and cleaning out the footers for the new business with a plastic shovel and pail.
“I had them for our sandbox, but all this dirt was falling in the footers and I was going around and throwing it out,” said Goolsby, who is now co-owner of the business with Jeremy Carter and Chris Cameron. “I used to tell them they had me working when I was five.”
While the business actually opened in February of 1972 on U.S. Route 50 just west of Hillsboro, it is holding its 50-year celebration from 12-2 p.m. Friday and Saturday at its current location at 1585 N. High St. There will be free ribs, barbecue, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, macaroni and cheese, cake and lots of prizes. They include 10 $50 Walmart gift cards, a grill, camping chairs and smaller items like hats and movie passes. The prizes will be given away through a raffle at the business Saturday. You do not have to be present to win.
Westview was originally opened by Goolsby’s grandfather, Tom Goolsby. He had been a barber for 20-plus years, but decided to go into business with the late Norm Ludwick at Sherwood Auto. Eventually, Ludwick decided he wanted to sell campers. While Greg Goolsby said there was absolutely no animosity between his grandfather and Ludwick, Tom Goolsby did not want to sell campers, so he decided to open his own business.
“I can’t tell you how blessed our family is and how blessed I am that I got to know the greatest man on earth, my grandfather, ‘Papa’ Tom Laymon Goolsby,” Greg Goolsby said. “Some of the best times I can remember are sitting in my Papa’s living room and talking to him about the business and about cars. I remember him looking out his window, watching the car lot, seeing people come and go shopping for vehicles. I know he beamed with pride because that was his baby and he got to see it grow. Also, he caught a few criminals looking out that window. He was our security system back then, too.”
It has been 30 years since Greg Goosby joined the business with his father, Jim Goolsby, in 1992.
“I worked in the restaurant business for six years, 80 to 100 hours a week, and once I had a family I wanted to be off on the weekends so I could see them,” Greg Goolsby said. “I decided to make Airborne my full-time job before my father asked if I wanted to sell cars. It was the best decision I ever made being in business with my family. It was always in the back of my mind, but I think the biggest thing that attracted me to the job was talking to people. Once I got in it and through the first year I really liked what I was doing.”
Goolsby said he doesn’t consider himself as much a salesman as someone who listens and helps customers find what they need.
“The biggest thing is listening to the customer, letting them tell you what they want, listening to what their needs are, and then working with them and helping them find the vehicle they’re looking for,” Goolsby said. “We just try to take care of our customers and make sure things are right if something goes wrong. You never know what a vehicle is going to do — I learned that from my grandpa and dad.”
At one time Westview had three locations, in Wilmington, Chillicothe and another location on North High Street in Hillsboro. It has been at its current location for nine years.
Carter has been with the Goolsby for 20 years, 10 as a salesman and 10 as co-owner, and Cameron has been with Goolsby for 10 years, five as a salesman and five as co-owner.
They have all witnessed numerous changes in the business over the years, but Goolsby said one of the most difficult times was when DHL closed and most local vehicle dealers struggled. Goolsby that’s when he started wholesaling to dealers and subprime financing.
“We had to figure out what we could do to make a living,” he said. “By going through those hard times, when things did get better, we had various ways to build our business.”
Over the years Westview has had many employees including Tommy Goolsby Jr., Jim Goolsby, Anthony Goolsby, Kevin Newman, Raymond Smith, Adam Bagshaw, Art Gregory, Shane Murphy, Wendell Pitzer, Dale Barnes, Dave Robinson, Zach Robinson, Bob Harrison, Mike Harrison, Connie Goolsby, Jennifer Goolsby, Don Baldridge, Scott Wise, Cody Juillerat, Gary Pitzer, Ronnie McLaughlin, Rod Ferguson, Rob Brown and Bobby Davis.
Goolsby said he is thankful for them all, in addition to the vendors, mechanics, banks, part stores, painters and more that have helped the business along the way.
“I am surrounded with some of the best people I know whose No. 1 priority is taking care of loyal customers over the last 50 years. We have laughed and cried together, and they are family. … We count it a privilege to serve our community and the surrounding area. Without our loyal customers, we could not have made it. We would love to have everyone come out and celebrate with us. I’m so proud to have reached this milestone. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. My staff and family thank you.
“We’re looking forward to the 75th anniversary.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.