Patsy and Dave Madia stand with new Cowboy Motor Company owners Lori Dynneson and Lucas Pickens. HERALD PHOTO/Matt Roberts
EVANSTON — An historic Evanston business is now under new ownership. Evanston Motor Company, which has been in the same family since it was established in 1946 by Mark Elmer, has been acquired by new owners, Lucas Pickens and Lori Dynneson, who recently relocated to Evanston from Cortez, Colo. The pair, who boast extensive experience in the automotive business, finalized the acquisition of the dealership, which will now be called Cowboy Motor Company, May 31.
“I want to convey to the community that I’m really comfortable with the people coming in,” Dave Madia told the Herald, “that they will maintain the small town mode of doing business. I’m very happy about that.”
Madia and his wife, Patsy, Elmer’s daughter, bought a 25 percent stake in the company in the 1960s, then purchased the business outright in the 1970s from Josephine Elmer after her husband passed away.
The dealership lost its General Motors and Cadillac franchises after the bankruptcy of GM in 2009, but is still affiliated with Chrysler, selling new Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep cars and trucks. The business also maintains a substantial inventory of used vehicles, as well as a full service department.
While Pickens and Dynneson will retain the Chrysler franchise, local residents can expect to see a few changes in the next few weeks. Dynneson said they will be increasing the dealership’s inventory by three- or fourfold in new car inventory, along with around 100 used cars.
“We want this to be a stopping point, so they don’t have to go to the big city to do business,” Dynneson said. “They can stop here. We’ll have anything from Land Cruisers to Neons…but we have access to any type of vehicle that you’d like.”
She noted they are bringing in new financing options.
“We’re bringing in a ton of financing,” Dynneson said, “millions of dollars of financing. We’ll be partnering with several banks we’ve had great relationships with [in the past]. That way, no matter if you’re credit challenged or at the top of the spectrum, we have very competitive rates, and programs that will fit everybody.”
Dynneson also said they plan to continue offering a full service maintenance department.
“We have some great technicians, but once we get busier we’ll need to get another one,” she said. “We are going to start offering specials on service to bring people in, so they’re not having to travel elsewhere. We can do warranty work and will get you in and out quickly.”
The pair noted they have been very well received in the community.
“Everyone here has been so welcoming, and so excited for us, and so helpful, beyond the call of duty,” Dynneson said.
“It’s amazing how genuine everybody has been,” Pickens added. “We’re from small towns, but there’s a lot more sense of community here.”
Dave and Patsy Madia have become anchors in the Evanston community in the last 50 years, lending their support and the financial support of the business to a multitude of causes within the community, including local high school athletics, the Evanston Rodeo Series, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce and the annual Evanston Renewal Ball, among many others.
The Madias agreed they will likely keep busy, despite no longer being associated with the dealership.
“I don’t see our lifestyle changing that much,” Dave Madia said. “It’ll give us the opportunity to go and come more comfortably.”
He noted he will continue to be managing other investments from an office space near the dealership that is now being completed.
“Our roots are so deep here, it would take more than TNT to uproot us,” he asserted.