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Garber Automotive Group acquires Christenson Chevrolet in Highland in 'end of an era'

Garber Automotive Group acquires Christenson Chevrolet in Highland in 'end of an era'

Garber Automotive Group acquires Christenson Chevrolet in Highland in 'end of an era'

Garber Chevrolet Highland General Manager Craig Blacklidge poses at the former Christenson Chevrolet, which was acquired by the Michigan-based Garber Automotive Group.

The Garber Automotive Group has acquired the Christenson Chevrolet dealership, a longtime institution in Region auto sales. The dealership now is Garber Chevrolet Highland.

The Michigan-based automotive group bought Christenson Chevrolet at 9700 Indianapolis Blvd. in Highland for an undisclosed sum. It's its 20th new car dealership.

“We could not be more excited to represent Chevrolet and the fine Christenson legacy of taking care of their staff, customers and community in Highland,” said Richard J. Garber Jr., president of Garber Management Group. “We will work tirelessly to not let any of the stakeholders down.”

The car dealership has served Highland at the same location on the boulevard since 1963. Two of the family members who ran it died over the past two years.

“In choosing the Garber family, we were extremely excited to learn they mirror our same morals, beliefs and love for the community,” the Christenson family said in a statement. “Not only will they continue our legacy, they will continue to support our community and love the business as we did. The first time we met, we instantly felt like family, and I promise that every customer will leave feeling just the same. Shopping local is a personal experience, where customers are the backbone of our community. And our community is our home. Together, Garber will continue the traditions that make us proud.”

The Christenson family also once operated Chevy dealerships in Griffith and Hobart before consolidating in Highland. The dealership supported many community causes, such as TradeWinds Services, The Arc of Indiana, the Northwest Indiana Symphony, and Hoosier Boys Town, which is now known as the Campagna Academy.

"It truly is the end of an era for the Calumet Region," Philip Christenson said.

Garber Automotive Group is based out of Saginaw, Michigan. It has been family owned and operated since 1907 and has grown into one of the largest privately held companies in Michigan outside of Detroit, representing 16 different franchises across six states.

The company, which also includes used-vehicle lender Gateway Financial Solutions and the used vehicle retailer RightWay Automotive, generates $1.2 billion in annual sales and employs more than 2,000 people. Its RightWay brand has 35 locations.

"We're excited to have the opportunity to continue the legacy of Christenson Chevrolet and introduce the community to Garber Chevrolet as we work to meet and exceed community expectations for our dealership," Garber Chevrolet Highland General Manager Craig Blacklidge said. "The name may have changed, but our staff remains the same. We're committed to making a difference in the local community and the people's lives that work for us."


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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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