WATERLOO — After 35 years leading Rydell Chevrolet, Jim Rydell has retired. But the business is staying in the family.
Matt Halbur, the company’s general manager since 2010, is the new dealer.
“Jim is my father-in-law,” said Halbur, noting Rydell continues to have an ownership interest in the business, located at 1325 E. San Marnan Drive. “It’s a family deal. The name on the building isn’t going to change.”
Rydell was unavailable for comment but released a statement noting Halbur “has done an excellent job” for the dealership since starting there in 2006 as a sales consultant, working “in and around all departments in the dealership.” He went on to say that he and his wife, Ardy, “feel very confident and fortunate that Matt and his family will do an outstanding job operating Rydell Chevrolet with their true belief that customer satisfaction and happy employees are the key to a successful business.”
He added that Halbur and his wife Kristina “are well known and very active in the Cedar Valley community. They are more than qualified not only to carry on, but to improve the excellent reputation that Rydell Chevrolet has had with both employees and customers.”
As Halbur assumes the top job at the company, Jeff Smock has become general manager.
“He’s been with us for 26 years, a huge part of our operation,” said Halbur. “We’re super-excited to have him in that role.”
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Rydell agreed, calling him “a wonderful and capable asset in his new position.”
Halbur also heads up Rydell of Independence, a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Ford and Lincoln dealership that the company bought in 2015. Ground was broken on a new 27,000-square-foot Independence facility at U.S. Highway 20 and Iowa Highway 150 in June. A mid-November opening is planned.
The Carroll native graduated from Iowa State University in 2001 and met his wife in Minneapolis, where he was a sales manager with food wholesaler and distributor Farner Bocken Co. The couple moved to the Cedar Valley in 2006 shortly before getting married and now have two daughters, Haylie, 10, and Josie, 8. In 2012, Halbur was recognized by The Courier as one of its 20 Under 40 honorees.
In 1984, Rydell purchased what had been Schukei Chevrolet and immediately made a splash with an invoice sale, which the company says was unheard of at the time. Rydell Chevrolet implemented “bottom line pricing” on all vehicles in 1992, another innovative approach for the time. It then shortly started offering “five-day like it or return it” and “30-day exchange” policies on all used vehicles.
Such “brand promises,” said Rydell, “are the fabric that ties Rydell Chevrolet to its customers.” He also noted that the company believes in giving back to the communities it serves and listed 19 organizations given support.
Halbur said that is “just a small portion” of its support to the community in recent years. He is excited to continue what Rydell started.
“He built such an amazing business over the last 35 years,” said Halbur. “I’m lucky and honored to take it over and lead it into the next generation.”