CMA's History

Humble Beginnings

Stockdell-Myers Hardware Company was established in 1902 in Petersburg, Virginia, by John Stockdell and H. Carter Myers. It was a hardware, machinery and mill supply business. As demand for "horseless carriages" grew, the team built cars from kits and sold them through the store. After Ransom Olds developed the first car assembly line and his internal combustion engine, Stockdell-Myers began to sell fully-built Oldsmobiles, Maxwells (the precursor to Chrysler), Fords, and Samson trucks. In 1913, Henry Ford improved the assembly line for the Model T by incorporating driven conveyor belts. It had immense influence on the world and inspired our company's next step forward.

Petersburg Motor Company

In 1924, Stockdell-Myers Hardware was liquidated and reincorporated as Petersburg Motor Company, Inc. (PMC) and co-founder H. Carter Myers (pictured here) was elected the company's first President. PMC's first manufacturer relationship was with Ford and we opened Petersburg Ford on December 4, 1924.

The company was still in its infancy when the stock market crashed in 1929. Money was really scarce and Mr. Myers' sister, Elizabeth P. Myers, was a very successful Northwestern Insurance representative in New York. Understanding her brother's need for cash to keep the business viable, Elizabeth began buying some of his shares of stock. This cash infusion and Carter's determination kept PMC going throughout the Great Depression.

A Women-Owned Business

In 1933, H. Carter Myers Jr., a graduate of the UVA Commerce School, took a leave of absence from General Electric to help in the family business. Carter Jr. had been home about a year when his father died on October 29, 1934. A few weeks later on November 22 at the age of 26, Carter Jr. was elected President. John C. Myers, his uncle and youngest brother of his father, served as Chairman of the Board.

In 1936, the company began exploring other opportunities and opened a service station as a separate division.

Elizabeth Myers continued to purchase shares and by 1937, she owned 75% of PMC. With three other women, the female-owned stock shares totaled 92.5% of the company. The other 7.5% was held by H. Carter Myers Jr. and his uncles, John C Myers and Douglas Gee Myers.

H. Carter Myers, Jr.

Carter Jr. kept Petersburg Motor Company going throughout World War II. When new car production was halted for the war effort, he drove up and down the East Coast and purchased vehicles. He stored them and would sell one a month to cover payroll and keep the business afloat. On August 9, 1943, Carter Jr. was granted a paid leave of absence from PMC to serve in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific. He left behind his wife and young son, Carter III, who was born on December 7, 1941 - Pearl Harbor Day. This photo is of Carter Jr. and Carter III, our current Executive Chairman.

Carter Jr. returned to the business toward the end of the war. In 1947, the company updated and expanded its facilities. With the war behind them, there was a resurgence in the economy and cars and trucks were now available. Francis Myers, the youngest brother, returned from military service and joined the company as Service Manager in the late 1940s.

Since its beginning in 1943, PMC had always been part of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association (VADA). In 1961, Carter Jr. was elected President. He served the association longer than any other President. In 1972, Carter Jr. was named the Virginia TIME Dealer of the Year.
Corporate minutes state that we added a Lincoln franchise and a separate division for Ford tractor and farm implements in the 1950s. The parts department and some offices were air conditioned in 1955. Sales volume for 1959 exceeded all previous years with 1,062 units sold.

Caring for Employees

As far back as 1948, PMC offered group health insurance to all associates. This was almost unheard-of for a small business back then, but the company knew that happy and healthy employees were key to sustainability and success.

In 1961, PMC established an Employee Profit Sharing Retirement Program. Again, this was highly unusual for an auto dealership at this time. The company continued to grow with a new body and paint shop in 1966 and in 1968, the company purchased the old Petersburg Armory, pictured here next door to the dealership. The Armory was remodeled into a 10-car showroom with offices and service bays. The old showroom was converted into a large parts department and service area.

H. Carter Myers III

H. Carter Myers III followed in his father's footsteps by graduating from UVA and on November 1, 1965, joined the family business. One of his first projects was daily and long term leasing. These businesses became AutoRent and AutoLease.

On September 18, 1974, Carter III was made President of Petersburg Motor Company. In 1979, Carter III and the board decided to share ownership with employees and PMC became one of the only automotive groups in the country to offer an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). With a philosophy of "shared ownership means shared success," our associates currently own over 26% of the company and continue to share in its growth to this day.

The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association elected Carter III President in 1995. In 2002, he served as the National Automobile Dealers Association Chairman. Under his leadership, the NADA Code of Ethics was established for all NADA dealerships.

Strategic Growth in Chester & Charlottesville

PMC obtained our first Honda car franchise in 1974 and named the dealership Colonial Imports in Petersburg, VA. That location also housed Honda and Kawasaki motorcycles and our first Volvo franchise. That same year, we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a party for customers and associates in the showroom, pictured here. We continued the expansion of AutoRent and AutoLease throughout Virginia.

In 1982, we purchased Goyne Chevrolet in Chester and renamed it Heritage Chevrolet (now CMA's Colonial Chevrolet). In the fall of 1984, we purchased a Pontiac-Nissan-Cadillac store on Main Street in Charlottesville, VA. In the fall of 1985, we built that dealership a new facility on Route 29 and created CMA's Colonial Auto Center. In the 1990s, we continued to add other franchises including Suzuki, Mitsubishi and Mercury, which we no longer carry. In Charlottesville, we now have new Buick, Cadillac, GMC, Lincoln, and Nissan franchises, a large used car operation, the Central Virginia Auto Auction, and a thriving wholesale parts business for all GM, Ford, Mitsubishi and Nissan parts. We eventually relocated CMA's Volvo Cars of Charlottesville to that same campus.

In 1997, PMC filed with the State Corporation Commission to begin doing business as Carter Myers Automotive (CMA).

Liza Myers Borches

Elizabeth Myers Borches (Liza), named after her great-aunt who had been such an integral part of CMA's success, joined the company on September 22, 2003. A graduate of UVA's McIntire School of Commerce, Liza worked for American Honda for 7 years as a Regional Sales Manager before joining the family business. CMA purchased a Volvo franchise in 2003 and she became President and General Manager of Volvo of Charlottesville in February 2004.

In 2008, the United States entered a recession. While other dealer groups closed some operations, CMA maintained ownership of all our businesses. Under Liza and her father's leadership, CMA remained financially stable and began to see growth again in 2009.

On October 10, 2011, CMA's board of directors elected Liza as company President and in 2012, she became Chief Executive Officer. She is the 4th generation of her family to lead the company and CMA has more than doubled in size under her leadership. Liza also brought a renewed vision of community service to the company, serving on the boards of United Way of Greater Charlottesville, the University of Virginia Children's Hospital, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia.

Expanding in the Richmond Market

In 2003, we acquired the Hyundai franchise in Petersburg, VA. In 2005, we sold our AutoRent business, which had grown to include 14 locations throughout Virginia, and purchased a large piece of land south of Richmond on I95 in Chester, VA. On that property, we built a new, state-of-the-art facility for our Honda dealership (now called CMA's Colonial Honda), relocating it from Petersburg. This new location was more convenient for Richmond customers and in 2007, we built Gateway Hyundai a new dealership there and eventually renamed it CMA's Colonial Hyundai.

In 2012, we added CMA's Colonial Kia next door to Hyundai and in 2016, we added CMA's Colonial Subaru just across the street. We now have five dealerships just 15 minutes from downtown Richmond. The four mentioned above are on Walthall Center Drive and CMA's Colonial Chevrolet is only a mile away at Jefferson Davis Highway and West Hundred Road.

CLICK HERE for locations and directions.

CMA in Staunton, VA

On October 4, 2010, CMA purchased two franchises in Staunton, Virginia, and opened them as two separate corporations: CMA's Valley Honda and CMA's Valley Volkswagen. This was our first time in the Staunton market. In July 2014, we found ourselves in Staunton again acquiring the two franchises across the street from Honda and VW. CMA's Valley Nissan and CMA's Valley Subaru became part of the CMA family. In 2016, we opened CMA's Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, a brand new dealership in Staunton, VA.

Staunton is now our second-largest market with 5 dealerships and 150 associates. All five stores are located together close to the intersection of Routes 64 and 81. They serve customers from Staunton, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Charlottesville, and everywhere in between.

Our Staunton stores have won numerous awards for customer and community service including the Honda Presidents' Award and the Subaru Love Promise Awards. They hold fundraisers for local charities, volunteer throughout the Valley, and donate part of their sale proceeds during certain annual sales events.

CLICK HERE for locations and directions.

Industry Leaders

In 2011, H. Carter Myers III was named Virginia Time Magazine Dealer of the Year. In 2016, The American International Automobile Dealers Association honored Carter III with their 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. Carter has now been with the company for over 55 years and continues to serve as CMA's Executive Chairman.

Liza Myers Borches has received numerous awards as CMA's leader, including Ford's 2009 Salute to Dealers Award and the 2012 Athena Award. CMA was honored with the 2013 Hovey S. Dabney Community Service Award. In 2020, Liza was named among the 100 Leading Women in Automotive by Automotive News and received the 2020 Barbara Cox Woman of the Year Award from Cox Automotive.

Top Workplace in Richmond

In 2017, 2018, 2019, & 2020, Carter Myers Automotive was named one of the "Top Workplaces" in the Richmond area. The Richmond Times Dispatch contracts with Workplace Dynamics to determine the Top Workplaces through confidential employee surveys. CMA, nominated in the Midsize category, was evaluated on seven factors, including organizational health factors that measure how well employees are working toward a common cause. In 2019, Liza was honored by the Top Workplaces program for her leadership.

One of the reasons touted by employees regarding their happiness at CMA is having ownership in the company. Our Employee Stock Ownership Plan combined with a company 401(k) can help associates take control of their futures.


Present Day at CMA

In January 2019, CMA rebranded with a newly defined mission of Moving Lives Forward for our associates, customers, and communities. This rebranding included changing the business names of every dealership to reflect consistency across all markets. It also meant changing every logo to convey our mission. Every CMA dealership name is now prefaced with CMA's to show ownership and connection.

New Markets

In May 2019, CMA acquired CMA's Williamsburg Ford in Williamsburg, VA, finally bringing us back to our roots with Ford. In August 2020, we acquired CMA's Subaru of Winchester, our third Subaru franchise.

Celebrating more than 95 years of business, CMA now includes 17 franchises in 15 locations across Virginia with more than 3000 vehicles in stock and nearly 700 employees. We are currently the 5th largest dealer group in the state, and we aren't done yet!