When South Side car dealers Ray and John LeFevour bought Joe Rizza Ford in North Riverside back in early 2017 and changed it to McCarthy Ford, they were bullish about the area and its potential.

“We love the location,” said John LeFevour at the time, calling the purchase a kind of homecoming, since the family hailed from the near west suburbs.

On June 25 the LeFevours sold the dealership to Zeigler Automotive Group, a Kalamazoo, Michigan-based company that’s been expanding its footprint in the Chicago area.

The dealership at 2100 Harlem Ave. reopened on June 26 under the name Zeigler Ford of North Riverside. The Rizza Auto group still owns the roughly 7-acre parcel land that the dealership occupies. Rizza purchased the property at the corner of Cermak Road and Harlem Avenue for his namesake Ford dealership in 1978.

 Zeigler Automotive Group has 26 locations in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.  In February, the company bought the Grossinger Autoplex in Lincolnwood and its acquisition of McCarthy Ford gives Zeigler a dozen Chicago-area locations.

“We feel that this store has great potential,” said Aaron Zeigler, president of Zeigler Automotive Group in a press release on June 22 announcing the acquisition of the North Riverside dealership. “With everything we know about this business and with the community’s support, we can really make this a successful store.”

The press release states that the McCarthy Ford staff will remain on board, but Val Kholodovsky was being brought in as general manager.

North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. said that he was privately told a couple of months ago that a sale might be coming, but that he didn’t learn of the closing until Monday.

According to Hermanek, the owners of McCarthy Ford were not looking to sell the North Riverside dealership. Rather, Zeigler Automotive group came to them and “gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.”

John LeFevour did not respond to a voicemail from the Landmark seeking comment on the sale of McCarthy Ford in North Riverside. The details of the sale were not made publicly available.

 Zeigler Automotive Group, according to the company’s press release, was founded in 1976 and is one of the largest privately held auto groups in the nation with 71 franchises in its 26 Midwest locations. It ranks among the top 1 percent of auto dealers in the nation, according to the press release.

Hermanek said he was told Zeigler may look to double the inventory at the North Riverside dealership.

“This is positive news all around and bodes well for the village,” Hermanek said. “I’m excited about such a large, well-run place over there.”

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