Pioneer, Family Ford owner buys Larry Simmons dealerships

Planning two new locations

Larry Simmons Honda Mazda Volkswagen, located at Seventh and 14th streets in Parkersburg, has been sold to the Nourse family of dealerships. Signs will change around the first of the year, with construction on two new locations to follow. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — A longtime Parkersburg car dealership has been sold to a new owner who is familiar with the region and plans to build two new locations.

The Larry Simmons Honda Mazda Volkswagen franchises and used car business have been purchased by Dick Nourse, owner of the Nourse family of dealerships, which includes Pioneer Chevrolet Cadillac, Family Ford Lincoln and Pioneer Buick GMC in Marietta, as well as the Nourse Chillicothe Automall. He took over operations effective Friday.

“Frankly, what interested me was the opportunity to expand in a marketplace that was already familiar to us,” Nourse said. “We’ve been doing business in the marketplace for over 30 years in Marietta.”

More than 40 percent of the business done at Nourse’s Marietta dealerships comes from West Virginia, he said.

Nourse said he anticipates the signs at Larry Simmons’ 1710 14th Street location changing to the Pioneer brand around the first of the year. Construction on the first of two new sites could begin as soon as April.

This 2-acre property on Murdoch Avenue near the Traffic Circle in Parkersburg is planned for a new Honda dealership after the Nourse family of dealerships purchased Larry Simmons Honda Mazda Volkswagen. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

The Honda dealership is planned for a 2-acre lot on Murdoch Avenue, near the Traffic Circle. The Mazda and Volkswagen brands, along with a large used car operation, will be located on a parcel between Garfield and Ohio avenues next to Lee Myles Transmission.

Nourse said he has options on both properties and is awaiting approval of his planned facilities by the manufacturers before closing on the deals.

The Larry Simmons used car facility on Seventh Street will remain, under the Pioneer brand, while the rest of the property will be sold, Nourse said.

Larry Simmons employs 40 to 45 people, and Nourse said he plans to add to that number.

“We anticipate that we’ll need several additional people, particularly in the sales operations and the parts and service operations,” he said.

Dick Nourse, owner of the Nourse family of dealerships, has an option to purchase this property on Garfield Avenue in Parkersburg between Lee Myles Transmission and Garfield Plaza as a site for some of the automobile operations he’s purchased from Larry Simmons Honda Mazda Volkswagen. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Mayor Tom Joyce said he appreciates everything Larry Simmons and his family have done in Parkersburg and he’s excited for what Nourse has planned.

“You’re looking at a significant investment into what is currently undeveloped land in the City of Parkersburg,” he said.

Joyce said tentative conversations have begun among city officials about what sort of incentives and assistance the city can offer “to make it as easy a transition into Parkersburg as we can.”

Nourse said he looks forward to the business becoming a part of the Parkersburg community, as the dealerships in Washington County have.

“We’ve been active supporters of the community, in addition to doing business there,” he said.

Simmons could not be reached for comment.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.