The Colusa City Council proclaimed Feb. 28 as Sankey Automobile Company Day in Colusa in honor of an iconic business that is passing into history.
Colusa Mayor Greg Ponciano made the proclamation Thursday to recognize the Sankey family, who operated the General Motors dealership in Colusa continuously since 1924.
Hoblit Motors recently purchased the dealership and will continue to offer Chevrolet vehicles at the Market Street location without the Sankey name on the marquee.
Ponciano presented the proclamation to Paul and Kathy Sankey following a brief ceremony at the dealership.
A number of city officials, including City Manager Jesse Cain, Police Chief Josh Fitch, and Fire Chief Logan Conley attended.
“It was pretty much unanimous with the council and staff,” Ponciano said. “We wanted to acknowledge the Sankey family for their service to the community.”
Ponciano said people born and raised in Colusa get emotional attachments to longtime businesses, making it harder to see Sankey Auto disappear into history.
“To be called iconic in anything, in my opinion, is a pretty big deal,” he said. “I think in this case, without a shadow of a doubt, we can say Sankey Auto has been an iconic business in the city of Colusa. To keep it family operated for 95 years and be able to walk out on their own terms to other adventures in life, in my eyes is very iconic.”
The auto dealership was actually founded in Williams by Paul Sankey’s maternal grandparents nearly a century ago in 1921. “They sold used cars where Garrison’s is located and had a service repair shop,” Sankey said. “In 1924, they moved it to Colusa and it became the Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealer.”
The Griffin and Sankey families were longtime partners in the business, before the Sankey family assumed ownership. As a kid, Sankey remembers fondly the original building that was destroyed by fire in 1992.
Although Sankey is retiring from the auto business, he is not retiring altogether.
“I’m going to still keep crop dusting,” Sankey said. “We farm almonds in Arbuckle, and I’m going to spend more time with my son – farming.”
Ponciano said the Sankey Automobile Company had a distinguished record as an employer and business leader within the city of Colusa and surrounding communities, and that it was well known for supporting local programs and non-profit organizations.
“Sankey Automobile has left an indelible positive legacy on the city of Colusa that will live on long after their last day in business,” the Mayor said. ■