Rotary International
Fayette, Missouri 65248
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Betty and Glenn Collier
(Photo by Roger Lembke)


Glenn and Betty Collier, Business Persons of the Year

 The Fayette Rotary Club, at their regular meeting on May 9, 2007 recognized Collier Auto Sales of Fayette and owners Glenn and Betty Collier as Business Persons of the Year.

From the left: Betty Collier, Glenn Collier, Keith Keeling

Present to make the presentation was Fayette Rotary President Keith Keeling.  Bruce Addison, Bill Holman and Ray Kimmel provided accolades.

Newspaper editor, James Steele, was present to provide more information about the history of Collier Auto Sales.  Jim recounted from an article in the Fayette Advertiser, he had written early this year . He began:

 

"Would you buy a used car from this man?"

 

In the case of Glenn Collier of Collier Auto Sales, more than three generations of Fayette area customers answered this question with a resounding "Yes."

 

But that era has come to an end.  Nearing fourscore years of age and experiencing a few health problems, Glenn and his wife Betty, called it quits at the end of last year.  Devoid of signs and automobile memorabilia, the small white frame office on Highway 5 is but a memory - the once bustling lot is devoid of cars.

 

Collier's was believed the second oldest family -- owned retail business in Fayette (only Clatworthy's Ready-to-Wear has been here longer .)  And it's believed that the Collier used car dealership was the oldest continuous operation in central Missouri region.

 

Glenn's father, Louis, began the business -- then known as Fayette Body and Paint Works -- in 1937 on South Main Street.  He started selling used cars about a year later.

 

Though the location changed, the doors did not close until last December.

 

Glenn Collier is a native of Armstrong area, grew up in Fayette and attended Fayette High School.  He earned his high school diploma after enlisting in the Navy in 1944.

 

Glenn "traveled the world" while in the service, and he recalls that -- while serving on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp in the Pacific -- his crew members shot down the last Japanese kamikaze plane of World War II.  And he was on board just 200 miles offshore when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, an event he did not know about until the next day.

 

After returning from the Navy and completing a degree at Central, Glenn joined the family business in 1948.  Besides having the body and paint business, he and his father -- over the years -- took on dealerships for Nash and Kaiser-Fraser, as well as International Harvester trucks.

 

When Collier's body and paint business was sold in 1954 to Bill Welch of a Welch Motors, the name change to Collier Auto Sales.  A used car lot was opened on the "new" highway running through town, Highway 5.

 

Glenn briefly left the business to join an insurance group.  For health reasons he moved in 1955 to Albuquerque, New Mexico., and began a used car lot there on Route 66.  He again rejoined his father in 1958.  Later in 1962 he bought his father's share of the business.  Glenn is proud to say that they had never closed, since 1937 -- either he or his father, or both, had operated the lot.

 

 

Glenn's wife of 60 years, Betty, was his only employee -- she helped him drive cars into the lot; was his bookkeeper, "gofer," and washer woman.

 

No trip to their lot was complete without seeing the Collier's yellow cat, who Glenn said was, "The only used car cat in Fayette."  He disappeared several years ago. 

 

Providing customers with low mileage, clean, affordable, quality cars -- which he purchased direct -- is what kept Glenn's customers coming back.  Back in 2001, he estimated he had sold more than 5,000 cars.

 

Indeed, Glenn Collier proved that, yes, you could indeed and did buy a used car from this man.