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Colussy Chevrolet in South Fayette celebrates 100 years in business

| Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
Colussy staff from the 1940s
Colussy staff from the 1940s
The Colussy original building, dating to 1918.
The Colussy original building, dating to 1918.
Gilbert and Albert Colussy
Gilbert and Albert Colussy
Tim and Jon Colussy
Tim and Jon Colussy
Daniel, Matthew, Jon, Tim and Megan Colussy.
Daniel, Matthew, Jon, Tim and Megan Colussy.

Tim Colussy said one big factor in the longevity of his family’s business is the working relationship between members of the family itself.

“The family has always gotten along very well together — whether it was my grandfather and his brothers, or our dad working with his father, or my brother and I now,” he said.

But the Colussys, he said, know they have more to thank than just themselves for the past 100 years. Good employees, good business associates and good customers, he said, have all helped to sustain Colussy Chevrolet, which on July 31 celebrated its centennial anniversary of the car dealership’s founding.

“We feel very honored and privileged and blessed that we have actually been able to maintain the business and sustain it for a hundred years, and so it is very satisfying in that sense,” Tim Colussy said.

The business was founded by Tim Colussy’s grandfather Albert with the help of his own father Louis, who emigrated from Italy and oversaw a construction company in Bridgeville. As the eldest of Louis’ six sons, Albert was tasked with maintaining the company’s truck, a responsibility that would spark a lifelong passion for automobiles.

The chance arose in 1917 for Albert to acquire the Elgin Auto Company in Bridgeville who, being underage, required his father’s signature on the agreement alongside his own. Renaming the business as Louis Colussy and Son, the two would procure a Chevrolet franchise agreement one year later.

Over 100 years, the business has weathered tumultuous times in both the Colussys’ and the nation’s history. Albert Colussy nearly walked away from the car business in 1922 when a fire claimed the dealership’s location on Baldwin Street in Bridgeville and his family’s apartment above it.

“Not only did they lose the business, but their home was on the second floor. My grandfather and grandfather lived there,” Tim Colussy said.

At the encouragement of a Chevrolet district manager, Albert and his brothers Gilbert and Arthur rebuilt and reopened the business in just six months, but in a matter of years would have to steer it through both the Great Depression and World War II.

“From 1940 to ‘44, all of General Motors production lines went toward the war effort,” Tim Colussy said, “so the dealers had to survive on selling used cars and doing service work.”

Despite the setbacks, Tim Colussy said, the dealership not only survived but grew. Since 1974, when Tim’s father Skip relocated the business to its current location along Washington Pike in South Fayette, it’s grown to include an on-site collision center and expanded into commercial trucking sales.

Having succeeded their father, Tim and his brother Jon now split ownership of the company with a fifth generation on the way up. Tim’s sons Matt and Dan work in the sales and service department, respectively, and his daughter Megan acts as the dealerships marketing director.

“We’re glad that we have another generation in place that looks like they’re wanting to keep things going,” Tim Colussy said.

Matthew Guerry is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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