Northampton’s Pleasant Journey used car business reaches end of road

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 04-25-2023 4:59 PM

NORTHAMPTON — After selling off the last of its vehicles, Pleasant Journey Used Cars is ready to turn in the keys on its business. The business will close at the end of this week, ending more than 40 years of operation.

Jack Davey, who together with his wife, Cheryl, has operated the dealership since 2007, selling import car brands such as Honda, Hyundai and Subaru, said Monday that it’s time for him to retire. The 69-year-old attempted to sell the business to try to keep the location at the corner of Pleasant and Conz streets running, but wasn’t able to find a buyer.

“I would have preferred to sell it and see it keep going,” he said. “It was definitely viable. We were profitable. I think we were profitable this month even.”

Davey said he worried that he would have to liquidate the remaining inventory of cars before closing, bringing them to auction and standing to lose money. But he managed to sell off every last one before closing.

Pleasant Journey was founded in 1981 at 351 Pleasant St., currently home to a UPS store, before moving to its current location on 459 Pleasant St. three years later.

Bob Kalish, the former owner of the dealership, explained the origins of the dealership’s name in an advertisement that ran in the Gazette during the business’s 20-year anniversary sale.

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“We originally thought of calling the business Safe Journey Used Cars,” he said at the time. “Then someone suggested we use the name of the street instead — Pleasant Journey. We liked the sound of that. It seemed to imply what we were all about.”

Kalish, along with his business partner John Guillot, became known for eschewing the traditional idea of what a used car salesman looks like, exhibiting laid-back and easygoing attitudes and avoiding aggressive sales pitches, one time even convincing a customer to keep the car he already had after they had sought to buy one, according to Gazette article from 1988.

Neither had intended to be in the car dealership business, that story reported — Guillot was a former special education tutor while Kalish was a former town planner in Hadley. But Kalish was persuaded to open the dealership by his father, who owned a Lincoln-Mercury and Toyota Dealership on King Street and who Kalish helped sell trade-ins the dealership received.

“At a lot of places they see someone walk in and say, there’s a customer,” Kalish told the Gazette in a 1988 article. “We try to look at someone who walks in as a person.”

Kalish eventually sold the dealership to Davey in 2007, who has operated it for the last 16 years.

“We want to thank all of our loyal customers, some of whom have been doing business here for over 40 years,” he said.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@gazettenet.com.

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