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Glockner Chevrolet: Nation’s Oldest Chevrolet Franchise Has a Servant’s Heart 



Glockner Chevrolet, Portsmouth, Ohio, is the oldest continuously owned and operated Chevrolet franchise in the world. The dealership was founded in 1914 by Alexander Glockner, but the family’s original business started a generation earlier as a hardware store selling bicycles.

The Glockner family has been selling means of transportation since 1847, including wagons, bicycles, motorcycles and automobiles. It was not uncommon for the first few generations of Glockner entrepreneurs to accept horses in trade for a wagon or even a new Chevrolet.

Today, Tim Glockner and his brothers, Joe and Mike, are the sixth generation leading the family business.  

“I learned a long time ago that there was nothing I could possibly do to earn what has been passed down over five generations,” says Tim Glockner, who is president of Glockner Chevrolet. “Someone has to step up in each generation. I’ve been lucky to share that responsibility with two younger brothers.”

It is not just the Glockner name that has been a constant in the business throughout the generations. There are employees who have been with the business for 50 years. Tim’s father, Andy, recently retired alongside seven managers, all of whom started their careers over four decades before. Now, some of those employees’ children work for the Glockner Family of Dealerships, which includes seven locations selling Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC,  Honda, Toyota, and Ford.

The same applies to customers. Some local families have been buying their Chevrolets from the Glockners for four generations.

A Legacy of Perseverance

With their generations of success has also come loss, followed by perseverance and dedication to the family’s business, employees and community.

Bernard Glockner, of the family’s first generation, died young, leaving his wife to take over the business (remember, this was the 19th century) for 15 years until their sons were old enough to be involved.

Later, the family lost the hardware store to bankruptcy in 1933 during the Great Depression, but was able to hold on to the Chevrolet store, only for it to be taken out by a flood four years later.

“There were several times over the years where they could have easily given up,” says Tim Glockner. “They mustered through.”

A Servant’s Heart

"I have no bargains to offer, except in the sense of good goods at reasonable prices and a strong guarantee!” said Alexander Glockner, the second-generation leader of the family business and founder of the Chevrolet dealership, in 1899 at his hardware store. “When you buy from me, you have the assurance that I am right here to make anything right that isn’t.”  

Alexander passed on this ethos of customer service to the business today. Tim Glockner says he learned from the previous generations to have “a servant’s heart.” This extends beyond the dealership and into the community, which has been the Glockners’ home for over 175 years.

The Glockner Family Foundation contributes more than $600,000 a year to a range of community initiatives and programs, including youth athletics, town beautification projects, concerts, nonprofit fundraisers, 4-H clubs, and local festivals.

“I don’t think we say no to anyone, and word got out about that long ago,” Tim Glockner says proudly of the foundation’s numerous philanthropic efforts.

One of the Glockners’ more recent initiatives is the Joanne K. Glockner Candyland Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, named after the family’s fourth-generation matriarch.

“We named it after our grandmother, who kept us all together for years,” says Tim. “Developing the next generation was her top priority.”

The museum is a place for local children to play and learn without having to travel to one of the larger metro areas. The seventh generation of Glockner children all spend time there.

This dedication to community has not gone unrecognized. Ebby Glockner (fourth generation) was awarded the TIME Dealer of the Year in 1978, and his son Andy (fifth generation) was nominated in 2015. Tim was a 2024 nominee.

The Glockner Family of Dealerships now has locations in Portsmouth, Ironton, South Point, Waverly, Jackson and Chillicothe, Ohio, as well as Ashland, employing a total of more than 430 people.

“It’s a great opportunity, but also a tremendous obligation, to carry on the good work of those that came before us,” Tim Glockner says. “It can be a whole lot of fun, and I hope the next generation will grab the bull by the horns and carry on.”

Learn more about the Glockners’ 177-year history at

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