The History of a Family and Their Progression in the Automotive Industry
It was in 1915 that an automobile business was born. J.O. Mertz started selling Model “T” Fords in Northumberland as a sub-dealer for the Ford Motor Company. Ten years later, Mertz purchased the Ford dealership in Sunbury, establishing Sunbury Motor Company at Fifth and Arch Streets. His sons, Wilson and Charles, operated the company until their sons, Bob and Dick Mertz, became active in 1961.
By 1968, they had outgrown the location and purchased property on North Fourth Street occupied by Boyer Chevrolet. This facility would be used for new Ford and used-vehicle sales.
The next expansion occurred during the early 1980s. Land was purchased behind the Fourth Street sales department and a state-of-the-art service complex was built to house both the parts and service departments of Sunbury Motors.
In 1988, Dick’s son Tom joined his father and second cousin Bob to continue the succession of the Mertz family as a fourth generation in the family-run business.
Sunbury Motors added a KIA franchise in 1998. KIAs were sold out of the North Fourth Street showroom until 2001, when land was purchased on Routes 11/15 in Hummels Wharf and a new KIA showroom was built.
In August 2002, the Lincoln Mercury franchises were added to the Ford lineup in Sunbury, and in early 2003 the Mertz family purchased the former BiLo Supermarket and parking lot.
By the end of 2003, the sales department was totally renovated. After completion of the renovation, the BiLo building was renovated as well, and Lincoln/Mercury, along with Western Star heavy trucks now are sold from this location.
In 2007, Sunbury Motors acquired the Hyundai Franchise. Hyundai’s are sold out of the Lincoln Showroom. Sunbury Motors currently employs 135 people. 44 employees have been with the company for 20 years or longer and 20 have been employed at SMC for over 30 years.
The Mertz family is proud of their growth and family heritage. They are also grateful to all employees who have been dedicated to the company for the past 100 years, along with the continued support.For this article and more Click here to download a pdf of the latest issue.