Category: Darryl Holter Automotive News, Nick Shammas
Like other business people who came trough the Depression, Nick Shammas - who would become an L.A. car mogul in the 1950s and 1960s - saw things in a very specific way. He often took the long view, in other words, and he always bet on Downtown.
When he bought Felix Chevrolet in 1955, he looked at the way the neighborhood patterns were shifting from the city center to the suburbs, and the ways in which new freeways were connecting the two.
But it wasn't just the freeways that were connecting to the new face of the city. Shammas hypothesized back in the 1950s that Downtown would move southward - the freeways dictated there was no other direction to move - and that Figueroa Street would become an important thoroughfare linking Downtown to adjacent communities.
The area changed, and so did Shammas' business. Suburbs arrived and grew. The train and trolley system was dismantled. The 1965 and 1992 riots had a negative impact on Figueroa dealerships, and one by one, they started to leave what was once a thriving auto row.
But Shammas' took a different approach: "I'm not leaving," he told his wife, Jeanette Shammas, "I'm staying." Shammas felt instinctively that downtowns ebb and flow, they always come back - that there's and inevitable return to the city center. He explained his theory to his son-in-law, Darryl Holter
, when Holter went on leave from UCLA to help with the family business. One of the keys was bringing new business to Fig. Another was strengthening the connection between Downtown and the University of Southern California. When Darryl Holter took over as CEO for the Shammas Group in 1995, he would oversee both.
About Darryl Holter
Shammas Group CEO
is the CEO of the Shammas Group
. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and received a BA and MA from the University of Minnesota. He completed a Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin. He has worked as academic, a specialist in industrial relations, and since 1995 as CEO of the Shammas Group.