Battered by recession, the third-generation family business reinvents itself. As the world seemed to be collapsing around it in 2009, Reed Brothers Dodge drew on its traditions, got creative, and managed to come up with the right stuff to survive. In the spring of 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy and within weeks delivered the ultimate indignity: the cancellation of the Reed Brothers Dodge franchise, robbing them of its sole new car brand.
The day the fateful letter from Chrysler arrived, the two brothers Richard and Barry Gartner gathered the staff together and vowed the dealership would press ahead, franchise or no franchise. To say that Reed Brothers had so much to do in so little time would be an understatement. Phasing out a new car franchise is an involved process, and a month is hardly ample time. Building an independent operation is equally time-consuming. During the months when many car dealers had to close their doors, Reed Brothers made behind-the-scenes tweaks to withstand the economic downturn and the loss of their franchise. The signs standing outside on Rockville Pike still said Reed Brothers Dodge, but inside, a new business was forming: Reed Brothers Automotive.
A business landmark in the Rockville area since 1915, Reed Brothers underwent a change in its structure – and its name – but still catered to the local community as it had for decades. Reed Brothers changed its name from Reed Brothers Dodge to Reed Brothers Automotive, and continued on as a used car dealer and repair shop until 2012.
Last Unsold Dodge’s Roll Off the Lot
Dodge Brand Signs Come Down
New Reed Brothers Automotive Signs Go Up