Out of the Past: West Herr Motors, Clark Street

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

With a celebrity spokesman and with dealerships all over the region, West Herr is the biggest automotive dealer group in New York State, selling more than 50,000 cars every year.

Harold West and Joe Herr, 1964.

Things were a bit simpler when brothers-in-law Harold West and Joseph Herr started selling Fords from under a tent on Clark St. in 1950.

West Herr Motors on Clark Street, 1953. Now the home of a collision shop and bottle return shop.

Herr and West took their commitment to Hamburg seriously, and in 1960, the dealership employed 30 Hamburg residents with salaries totaling $145,000. For many years, they also donated a new car to Hamburg High School for drivers’ education each year.

West Herr Motors ad, 1956.

A 1960 ad underscored West-Herr’s civic pride even further:

“We would appreciate your support of our business and every business in Hamburg, be it the Chevrolet Dealer, the Plymouth Dealer, the department store, bakery or corner delicatessen. Their business investment means employment and salaries and the betterment of your community. Shop if you must, but then buy in Hamburg.”

After 15 years on Clark St., West-Herr broke ground on a new location in October, 1965. The new digs at Camp Rd. and Southwestern Blvd.—where the dealership remains today—was three times larger than the spot on Clark near Buffalo St.

“The move was made for customer convenience,” said Vice President Joe Herr, who said people could now choose among 66 different cars on the lot and in the showroom.

Steve Tasker for West Herr, 2015.

Steve Cichon writes about Hamburg’s history for The Hamburg Sun, and about all of Western New York’s heritage and history at BuffaloStories.com.

 

 

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.