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Norwood Park Auto Sales Reaches Finish Line on Northwest Highway

By Heather Cherone | February 18, 2013 6:15am
 The Norwood Park Auto Sales lot sits empty at the corner of Harlem Avenue and Northwest Highway.
The Norwood Park Auto Sales lot sits empty at the corner of Harlem Avenue and Northwest Highway.
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DNAInfo/Heather Cherone

NORWOOD PARK — For the first time since the 1940s, the corner of Northwest Highway and Harlem Avenue is not home to a car dealer.

The last day of sales at Norwood Park Auto Sales was Feb. 9, and owner Michael Kinsch said the business should be completely shuttered by March 3.

"It makes me sad," Kinsch said, noting that several dealerships called the corner home during the last 65 years. "We've been here a long time, but business is business."

The business, which festooned its triangular lot with dozens of American flags and multicolored ribbon streamers to attract shoppers, never recovered after losing its Chrysler dealership as part of the auto company's 2008 bankruptcy, Kinsch said.

"We were doing fine as a used car dealer, but it was tough," Kinsch said. "There's no natural traffic here, so we had to work really hard."

Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) said her staff was working to find a new business to occupy the high-profile corner and make up for the sales tax revenue that will be lost with the dealership's closure.

"That dealership has been a big part of the Norwood Park community and we are sad to see it go," O'Connor said.

All of the dealer's inventory is being transferred to Kinsch's Windy City Motors sales lot at 2662 N. Cicero Ave. in South Lawndale.

"There are other dealers close by there, and it will be more of a natural fit," Kinsch said.

Kinsch said he has sold the 28,000-square-foot parcel where the dealership stood, but declined to reveal the sale price. He said he's not sure what the new owner, whom he did not identify, planned to do with the land.

"It won't be a car dealer, that's all I know," Kinsch said.

The president of the Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce, Kinsch said will continue to lead the group, which he's said has seen its efforts to attract more shops and restaurants to the area begin to pay off recently. A produce market and several restaurants are planning to open in the next several months.

"It's a good time for business in Norwood Park," Kinsch said. "Just not for us, unfortunately."