When the first residents of Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg began moving in, they were virtually surrounded by farm fields. To get to a grocery, hardware or clothing store it was necessary to drive to Roselle, Palatine or Elgin. Needless to say, for most of these new residents who moved from Chicago, a car was an absolute must. But where to buy one?
The dream of being able to purchase a car in Schaumburg Township didn’t become a reality until 1968. That was the year Franklin-Weber Pontiac jumped to the front of the Golf Road car dealers and opened its doors. Anticipating the coming boom, John Mathias, president of the dealership, moved his dealership from Chicago to Schaumburg. The dealership was built at 100 W. Golf Road, just west of Roselle under the oversight of Dick Frankis. The 22,000 square foot facility cost $500,000 to build. (Daily Herald, July 17, 1968) Considering Franklin-Weber began its franchise in 1926 and was Chicago’s oldest Pontiac dealer at the time, it was obviously quite a decision to take the leap and move to the area.
They offered “new Pontiacs and fully guaranteed used cars in addition to a complete service and parts department.” A body shop and complete insurance –finance division were part of the business as well. John Mathias’ partner was Nicholas Bergadon who was vice-president and sales manager at the new location. They also hired area residents as well. Herb Gibson, a Hoffman Estates village trustee, was hired to be insurance-finance manager and involved in sales. Art Danz of Hoffman Estates was named used car manager and John Soderholm would be the parts department manager.
After opening on July 29, 1968, the dealership got busy and by October of that same year were already gaining the appreciation of the local villages. According to an article in the October 18 edition of the Daily Herald, Schaumburg Police Chief, Martin Conroy noted that Franklin Weber was the only dealership to submit a bid for four new police cars. The village board approved the bid.
With a slogan of “Nobody Beats Our Price,” Franklin-Weber proved their worth and stayed in business for quite a number of years until it became Larry Faul Pontiac sometime in 1985/86 followed by Harbor Pontiac in late 1996. In November 2001, it became known as Schaumburg Pontiac GMC and was purchased by Steve Napleton. According to an interview with Mr. Napleton in the May 28, 2006 issue of the Daily Herald, “We felt it was time to update the grounds so in the spring of 2004, we put in new landscaping a new parking lot and lighting. We knocked down the entire store and rebuilt it.” The location is now Napleton’s Schaumburg Buick GMC.
Now that the Pontiac line has been phased out, Franklin-Weber will be remembered as THE Pontiac dealership in Schaumburg Township.
(All dates in the second-to-last paragraph came from appearances in the Daily Herald.)