Linda Burke, who has run the local business since her husband’s death in 2000, said last week she first thought she would go into arbitration in an effort to retain her franchise; however, compression fractures she suffered in her back and leg last year led her to decide to give up the business.
“I think it may have been a sign from God,” she said of the injuries that have changed her plans. She has been in the car business for 47 years. She and husband, Darryl Burke, established Darryl Burke Chevrolet Pontiac Buick in 1990.
Before his death Mrs. Burke served as office manager. Her husband was president. After his death she became president.
“I have strived to carry on Darryl’s legacy,” she said. “I have been blessed with wonderful friends and employees.”
At one time the business had 35 persons employed. Some of the service department workers had been with the company a long time, she said. “I’m pleased that all of them have found jobs.
She is hoping someone will take over the dealership and make it a success and “a wonderful place as it has been,” she said.
“I love the business,” Mrs. Burke said. “I’m a real car guy.” She said car dealers sometimes appear to have a bad reputation. She does not think that’s deserved. “They are good people,” she said, adding that she would like to thank Tim Michaels of Capital Ford, Bruce Devincenzo of Wake Auto Sales, Thurman Yelverton of Wachovia/Wells Fargo Bank, John Graw Media Group and James Eddins and Mitchell Mill Motors for their support during the years she has run Darryl Burke Chevrolet on her own.
She also is thankful for her granddaughter, Lauren, who, for the past seven years “has been my rock.” Local area residents may remember Lauren, as a child, appearing with her grandfather in television commercials promoting the dealership. In recent years she has been working in the business.
The Burkes bought the Chevrolet business from Hugh Mitchener in 1990. It was Michener who built the facility.