Ray and Mildred opened the doors of their dealership in 1946 in the small town of Pierce, Neb., a couple hours northwest of Omaha and just an hour and half west of Sioux City, Iowa. Ray and Mildred reportedly operated the facility for 50 years, never taking a vacation, and had only one employee, a mechanic. The couple ran the dealership as a prototypical “mom and pop store” and did all the work themselves, as a family. Ray and his daughter Jeannie removed the protective white wax from the new cars as they were delivered, while Mildred kept the books for the dealership, also serving as a notary public and making almost daily runs to pick up new parts. The couple switched from typewriters to computers back in the 1980s, but continued to use the same cash register that the store started out with back in 1946.
In 1996 Ray was forced to give up his franchise, though he kept all the facilities and all the cars that he had bought for himself. In essence, the dealership exists now in the same state it was in when the door was locked for the last time, in 1996, though many of the cars had been there much longer. Jeannie recounted that the decision to sell all the cars was a difficult one for her parents, who are now in their 90s, but perhaps an inevitable one given the collection’s size.