One Year Later: Where Bill Heard bankruptcy stands - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

One Year Later: Where Bill Heard bankruptcy stands

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - If you look closely, you can still see the Bill Heard name on the signs at Legacy Automotive.  However, it's the mark left on the community that's even greater.

"I'm still unemployed, the job market is so hard right now and I really miss being out there in the dealership with the people because I'm a people person. I just love working with people, so it affected me a lot, I'm still not over it," says former Bill Heard employee Cynthia Hall.

Bill Knight worked for Bill Heard Chevrolet for more than 20 years.

"It was just a normal, normal day and the General Manager called us back there and said, he said it's all over," explains Knight of the day the dealership closed.     

It seems even those in management didn't see it coming.

"This store here, you just kind of felt like this store would be here forever," says Knight.      

"It was kind of unexpected, we really didn't know a whole lot about it.  We had heard rumors that Mr. Heard was in trouble financially, but this was always his home store and that this store was gonna be saved," says former employee Mike Finney.

Saved it wasn't.  Employees say they only had a few minutes to pack their belongings and they came back the next day to pick up their final paychecks, some of which never cleared.

Finney says he took three months off and spent the time working for his father in law's car dealership in Valley, Alabama before being hired as the New Car Director at Legacy.

"Mr. Heard had a lot of things over the years that were done here that weren't, I guess you want to say above board sometimes, and we're trying to change that image," Finney says.

Knight was lucky enough to stay on during the transition to help close the dealership for GMAC and then became the Finance Director at Legacy.

Others though have taken a different route.

"I always wanted to go back to college, so I couldn't think of a perfect time than to go then," says Hall.

Hall is now a student at the University of Phoenix and despite things not ending well at Bill Heard, she and other former employees say they're looking ahead toward a bright future.

"Like I said, I'm into a new future now and I'm working on getting my bachelor's and I'm gonna focus on that right now," Hall says.

"I want to say we're almost like a family here now," explains Finney of the culture at Legacy.

"I love this store and love what I do and done it a long time and I love to help people and feel like that's what I do," says Knight.

We also contacted the Heard family for a comment, however, they declined our request for an interview.

©2009 WTVM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly