ELY, MN -- After 75 years Ely's only car dealership is closing its doors.
"The expense of running a store in a small town and the economic uncertainty all rolled into one," said Vice President of Mike Motors, Charlie Hilligoss.
Owners credit competing with larger car dealerships as a reason for the business struggling.
COVID-19 only added to the financial impact.
"Because of different programs manufacturers have, we might not be able to offer as low of prices," said Hilligoss. "Having less of an inventory because of the smaller community."
Owners say the decision to close the dealership was not an easy choice.
"It's definitely not a fun decision, we feel horrible not only for the community but mainly for the employees," said Hilligoss.
For salesman Joe Hiller, it has been a tough few days since hearing the news.
"It's been a roller coaster ride this last week, a little bit scary because I'm not sure what's going to happen."
Especially knowing they'll have to send their loyal customers elsewhere Hiller said was heartbreaking.
"There's been a lot of repeat business and a lot of customers who love this place," said Hiller. "It'll be missed for sure."
Owners are working to relocate employees to other dealership locations they own.
Hilligoss said, "We're going to try hire as many as we can at our other locations, if they're able to make the commute."
Mike Motors will close their doors for good by the end of July.
Owners still have to work with maufacturers before they can set an offical closing date.
The Hilligoss family owned the dealership from 1998 through 2004 and repurchased the business in 2009 after the economic recession.
ELY, MN -- After 75 years in business, Ely's only car dealership will permanently shut down due to financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the business said in a statement.
Charlie Hilligoss, vice president of Mike Motors of Minnesota, said the current economic conditions, increased costs and uncertainty all lead to the decision.
"We have operated the dealership through many difficult periods, and we have always tried to keep the dealership operating and employees working for many years," Hilligoss said. "Unfortunately, economic conditions and uncertainty has forced ownership to make the difficult decision to close."
Mike Motors sells and services vehicles.
The business said while no official closing date has been set, they expect to close by the end of July.
There was no immediate word on how many employees will be impacted.
The dealership will continue sales and limited service appointments in accordance with the state's executive orders.
The Hilligoss family owned the dealership from 1998 through 2004. They then repurchased it in 2009 to keep the business afloat after the 2008 recession.