Since 1972, Marion “Turp” Turpin has considered Geneseo “a good city to do business and live in”.
It was 50 years ago when he and his family moved to Geneseo and opened Turpin Motors, which is now located at 1024 South Chicago St.
The company will note that it has been in business for 50 years on Saturday, September 10.
On September 16, 1972, Turpin purchased the Geneseo Dodge dealership from Frank Ward at a time when, days before, he was unsure of Geneseo’s location.
In 1972, he was working as general manager of his father-in-law’s Dodge dealership in Dubuque, Iowa, when he was approached by Chrysler Motors about the retiring Geneseo Dodge dealership that Turpin had an interest in owning. Concession.
He admits he then asked, “Where is Geneseo?” … He remembered it was June of that year when he walked down Oakwood Ave. in Geneseo, “and it was an awesome little community,” he said.
“I bought Frank Ward’s (dealership) store in June 1972 on a handshake,” Turpin said. “Chrysler approved us on September 16, 1972.”
The dealership was located in the old Armory building on North State St.
In 1973, Turpin purchased property on South Chicago St., which is the company’s current location. “We began construction of two new facilities in August 1978 and moved there in 1979,” he said.
The Turpin family purchased the Lincoln-Mercury franchise in 1975 and Turpin explained, “That’s why there are two locations. We sold the Lincoln-Mercury franchise in 1982 and purchased the Kittrell Chevrolet-Oldsmobile franchise in November 1989.”
Marion Turpin and his wife, JoAnn, have three children, Julia (Ken) Koehler, Glenview, IL; two sons, Tim (Lori), Geneseo, who is now owner/manager of both Geneseo dealerships; and Patrick, (Nikki), Dubuque, who owns/manages Turpin Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep & Ram in Dubuque.
Tim Turpin started working at the dealership in 1979 when he started moving grass. His mother recalls, “He couldn’t read the clutch pedal on the mower. Pat started working in 1992 washing cars and mowing grass.
In the early 2000s, Patrick Turpin moved to Dubuque to take over this dealership while Tim worked with his father at the Geneseo dealership. In August 2015, Turp’s sons assumed full management of the business in Geneseo and Dubuque after their father was seriously injured in an aviation accident.
Discussing the company, Marion Turpin said that in the beginning there were four employees and that number has increased over the years to reach 30 employees.
He said, “1973 was a good year, and in 1974 there was a shortage of gasoline which made it less good.”
Asked about his greatest accomplishment, he replied, “The spouse and the family and the years spent at the National Dodge Dealer Council in Detroit during the Iacocca years.”
He was president of the Chrysler Dealers in Chicago Zone Advertising Council for 25 years.
And his comment on the biggest benefit of doing business at Geneseo was, “All loyal customers, all our friends. We have many, many good loyal customers, too many to name.
“There have been a lot of good times for us here,” he said. “It’s a close-knit city where people take care of each other and take care of their belongings. It is a city where it is good to do business and where it is good to live.