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Bill Heard Closes


Auto dealer Bill Heard Enterprises Inc. will shutter its 13 stores on Friday, the Columbus [Ga.] Ledger-Enquirer reported Sept. 24.

The shutdown includes Bill Heard Chevrolet in Sanford.

The company began in Columbus in 1919, founded by W.T. Heard Sr. It developed into the country's biggest Chevrolet dealer for years and runs dealerships in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Nevada.

But the souring economy brought less demand for new cars and GMAC recently eliminated Bill Heard's credit for inventory, the paper noted. In July 2007, Bill Heard also faced a $50 million deceptive advertising lawsuit and was bombarded with a litany of complaints from consumers in the states where it operated.

It closed a store in Arizona earlier in September.

According to its Web site, Bill Heard sells "around $2.5 billion" a year and employs more than 3,500.