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Volkswagen honors local dealership

August 22, 2003

The Sharrett Volkswagen dealership of Hagerstown recently was recognized by Volkswagen of America as a 50-year dealer.

Dave Bedard of Volkswagen of American presented the recognition plaque to Sharrett officers Monday in honor of the half-century of service.

Only one plaque has been awarded before, as Volkswagen lists Sharrett as the second-oldest of its 600-plus American dealerships. Ralph Sharrett started selling Volkswagens at his Dual Highway location in 1953, two years after YBH Sales & Service in Edgemont, Pa., started selling them.

A history of Sharrett company milestones notes that a brand-new Volkswagen sold for $1,200 in 1954.

Ralph Sharrett got his start selling Fords in Manassas, Va., in 1936 before Ford offered him a chance at a Hagertown dealership in 1940.

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In 1940, he acquired Hughes Motor Co. at 30 E. Baltimore St. in Hagerstown and changed the name to Sharrett Motors.

Sharrett opened a dealership at 1317 Dual Highway in 1953. He began selling European imports - Saabs, Volvos, Triumphs and Renaults.

Over the years, Sharrett, the company, moved to different spots on Dual Highway and formed different partnerships.

A new showroom was built at 1333 Dual Highway in 1966. An AMC and Jeep franchise was acquired in 1976.

A Mazda franchise was added in 1987 across Dual Highway where the Freddie's sandwich shop now stands.

Today, Sharrett is made up of Volkswagen, Mazda and Subaru dealerships at 1317 and 1333 Dual Highway and Pontiac, Buick and GMC dealerships at the I-70 Auto Mall.

The company has grown from 10 to 12 employees in 1954 to more than 100 today.

Material in this article appeared in an earlier story on Ralph Sharrett by Herald-Mail staff writer Andrew Schotz.

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