Chickasaw auto dealer retires after 59 years

By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal

HOUSTON – Harold Frazier has a knack for selling cars and he should, because he has been doing it for 59 years.
Frazier retired from Eaton Automotive Chevrolet/Buick/ GMC in Houston last week after coming to Houston in 1953. Frazier has sold Chryslers for Leon Martin, Fords for Wendell McKinney and hundreds of Chevrolets for Mike Colbert and Steve Eaton.
“I sold my first Buick in 1948 in Blytheville, Ark.,” said Frazier. “I then moved to Corinth with Goodyear Tire and came to Houston in 1953 to sell cars.”
Like most men of that era, Frazier had been in the service during World War II. He was a flight engineer on a B-17 stationed in England and later France. He returned to his hometown in Arkansas and began selling cars.
“I learned quick that you shoot people an honest and fair price and you really have to care about them after the sale,” said Frazier. “I’ve been fortunate to work for some really fine dealerships. I’ve always worked very hard to be a man of my word.”
Frazier said automobiles have changed a lot in almost 60 years, but selling and servicing customers has not.
“In the 1960s, a top-of-the-line automobile sold for $8,000 and that was big money,” said Frazier. “They have also gotten much more technical and they have so many gadgets on them these days – computers, sound systems and video players – and then you look at all the technology that is under the hood.”
But Frazier’s sales philosophy has not changed.
“I’ve always said I don’t sell cars, I make friends,” said Frazier. “Cars wear out; friends last forever.”
And Frazier said that mind-set is one of the reasons he has always had hundreds of repeat customers.
“Some of my customers have been with me since I first came to town and have followed me from job to job,” he said. “They didn’t really care what kind of car they drove, they just wanted the best deal in town. Like I said, if you treat people right they come back.”
Steve Eaton, of Eaton Automotive, said Frazier is one of the best collection agents he has ever seen.
“He knows everybody in town and who their parents are,” said Eaton. “When he calls, it’s sort of like your grand-daddy getting on you. He’s honest with you, he really cares, but he is firm and fair.”
Frazier admitted he will miss his desk at the front door of Eaton Automotive, but most of all he will miss the people that walk into the dealership.
“I’m used to seeing people walk through that door or call me up and ask for a car,” said Frazier. “I don’t think I will miss the work, but I will miss the seeing the friends I have made over the past 50 years.”
floyd.ingram@journalinc.com