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Ritter retiring after 47 years with Harvey’s

By DAVID GRAVELY

editor@southwesttimes.com

Keeping a job for any amount of time can be a tough task. The everyday grind, especially in a sales position, can take its toll on the body and mind.

One longtime fixture in the auto sales business has managed to do exactly that, however, and after 47 years of customer service Dennis Ritter will finally step into retirement May 3.

“I started with Harvey’s at the old location in June 1967,” Ritter said. “My first sale was to a Virginia Tech student. He traded in a black two door 1957 Chevy with a hard top and bought a 1964 Nova convertible. I’d love to have either one of those cars now.”

While Ritter started with Harvey’s he did test the waters in other locations for a brief period of time.

“During a three-year period I worked at the old Highland Volkswagon location in Christiansburg and then at an independent dealership I ran,” he said. “I was younger and it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I finally realized how good things were here, so I made my way back. I’ve been with the Harvey’s for 44 of my 47 years in automobile sales.”

When asked about some of his more memorable sales, he brought up a sale to a German student at Virginia Tech.

“This young man was here to get his degree, and then he was going to go back into the workforce,” Ritter said. “He told me his family had a business back in Germany, so I asked if he was going to go back and work with them. He told me that wasn’t how it worked. He said you went to work for the competition for three years so you could any ‘new guy’ mistakes there before coming home to your family business. He bought a new Blazer from me. He told me later he was shipping it back to Germany when he left.”

Ritter estimates he has sold somewhere between 5,500 and 6,000 cars during his years as a salesman, which equals around 128 cars per year or almost 11 cars per month. As with most sales jobs, there were ups and downs during that time.

Ritter and his wife of 52 years, Mildred, are looking forward to spending some quality time with their two sons, Curtis and Michael, along with their two grandchildren and, for now at least, one great-grandchild.

“Dennis Ritter is a good man with a fine reputation for taking care of his customers,” Josh Hurst, General Manager of Harvey’s said. “Since announcing his retirement, he’s been receiving cards from his customers thanking them for what he’s done for them and wishing him well. He’s been an excellent sales representative for us and a valued part of our family here. We certainly wish him all the best as he heads into retirement and will miss him here on a daily basis.”

Ritter will continue his daily duties through May 3, and invites any former customers to stop by and say hello.

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