The Car Store in Pawtucket to close

(WJAR)

A used-car dealership in Pawtucket is shutting down after nearly 30 years in business.

The owner of The Car Store, Jim Semenkow, 65, told NBC 10 News he’s been toying with the idea of closing for several years and said the timing was right.

“We’ve had a great run,” Semenkow said.

Semenkow’s love of cars gave him a front-row seat to the car industry.

“Myself and my brother -- we always had a passion for cars. I worked on cars,” Semenkow said. “I know them doing body work and mechanical, and then found out I could sell cars and there was my path.”

Semenkow opened The Car Store in Cumberland in 1990. It didn’t take long before he outgrew that location and one in North Providence. Then, in 1997, he moved his business to Colfax Street in Pawtucket, where he’s been ever since.

“It’s a great location,” Semenkow said. “I’m going to advertise it as a car dealership and maybe somebody else wants to come in and fight the fight.”

Semenkow told NBC 10 his daughters aren’t interested in taking over the business and competition is tough.

“It’s just such a struggle to stay in business, to be competitive, which we always have been. But it’s just getting tougher and tougher every day to draw new customers,” Semenkow said.

When asked what he’ll miss most, he said it’s his customers. In 28 years, he’s had some memorable ones.

“There’s too many to mention. I mean, we’ve sold cars to so many people. Larry Bird’s brother bought a Corvette from me. I was actually at the auction. My daughter called me and said, ‘Larry Bird’s brother is here.’ I said, ‘Yeah, OK.’ And it was a 25th anniversary Corvette,” Semenkow said.

Semenkow is not retiring. He’s going to go work at Anchor Nissan in North Smithfield, adding that all of his roughly 15 employees are also going to work there.

The Car Store will close Dec. 15.

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