LeRoy Butler Ford in Waupaca is out of business.
The large flashing sign on Royalton Street was removed Friday and “Sorry We’re Closed” signs were posted on the doors.
On Friday morning, two customers with auto service appointments stood outside the facility waiting to get inside. After nobody responded to their knocking on the bay door, they left.
One of the customers, who asked not to be identified, said he had made his appointment for an oil change on Wednesday afternoon.
Customers were still visiting the dealership as late as Thursday, most of them unaware that the business would be closed the next day.
Launched in October 2009, the dealership was owned by Scott Wilson and LeRoy Butler, a former safety with the Green Bay Packers.
Butler spoke to the Waupaca County Board on Aug. 18, 2009, about his plans to purchase Racette Ford in Waupaca.
Butler told county supervisors that his goal was to add 15 new jobs initially and increase the total number of employees to 25 over the long run. At the time, Racette Ford was down to three employees. By
At its August 2009 meeting, the Waupaca County Board approved a $1.3 million bond from the county’s share of federal economic stimulus funding for Butler’s new business.
Dave Thiel, director of the Waupaca County Economic Development Corp. (WCEDC), told supervisors, “The bonds do not affect the county in any shape or form.”
However, Butler and Wilson later decided that the federal stimulus bonding was more appropriate for large corporations.
WCEDC provided a $100,000 loan to the dealership in November 2009 from the county’s revolving loan program. The loan was for 10 years at 4 percent interest.
According to WCEDC’s Sept. 30 report to the county board, LeRoy Butler Ford was current with its monthly payments. It owes about $83,000 on the loan.
Butler and Wilson also approached the city of Waupaca for a loan, but the city had no loan money available. They were referred to CAP Services and its business loan subsidiary, Community Assets for People LLC.
They asked CAfP to provide gap financing for retooling the body shop, installing new lifts, lighting and tools.
CAfP’s loan fund is capitalized by grants and investments from churches, banks, foundations and the public sector. CAfP’s business loan fund has a loss ratio of less than 7 percent.
The County Post was unable to reach anyone with the dealership on Friday.