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After the Ratliffe Ford Company and Ratcliffe Implement Company split in 1948, Mark Ratcliffe, president of the auto dealership, purchased property at the west end of the bloc on 2nd, and built a new auto dealership showroom and garage.

Across the street was a used car lot, while the old building continued as the farm implement business. An auto licensing office opened in a section of the old building.

The program cover for the grand opening of the new Ratcliffe Ford dealership showroom, January 8, 1949.

The program cover for the grand opening of the new Ratcliffe Ford dealership showroom, January 8, 1949.

The Ratcliffe Ford dealership 1959

Tire, Automotive parking light, Car, Wheel

Bud Ratcliffe and his father F. Lynn Ratcliffe 1957

Coat, Suit, Tie, Motor vehicle

Bud Ratcliffe and the Ratcliffe Implement Company employees

Wheel, Tire, Car, Vehicle

Violet Ash (1939) worked for Ratcliffe Ford for 41 years

Nose, Cheek, Eyebrow, Paint

Ron Rehn and Don Helm took over in 1964

Vehicle, Motor vehicle, White, Hood

1970 Advertisement Ratcliffe Ford Sales & Service

Rectangle, Font, Parallel, Brand

The Ratcliffe Ford dealership during Cheney's Centennial celebrations in 1983.

The Ratcliffe Ford dealership during Cheney's Centennial celebrations in 1983.

After the company split in 1948, Mark Ratcliffe, as president of the auto dealership, set in motion plans for expansion by purchasing the remainder of the block to the west along Second Street.

On 8 January 1949, Ratcliffe Ford opened a new auto showroom and office at the corner of Second & F streets.

The new sales showroom and business offices had a 1-story front section made of large glass windows with a recessed entry of glass doors two-thirds of the way over on the right. A RATCLIFFE sign was perched on the roof at center. A few cars could be featured in the showroom with sales and business offices behind it. The rear half of the building was 2-story for car storage and repairs with a bay door facing F. There were windows facing F Street, as well as high, south facing windows to bring in natural light.

There continued to be display space in the older building, but additional space was used for repair and storage. In one of the old offices an auto licensing business was housed, using the address 412 2nd Street. This part of the building was modified over time with some doors changed and windows covered over.

In 1957, with 50 years invested in the company, F. Lynn Ratcliffe retired and his son, Bud (F.L. Ratcliffe Jr.) took over as president of the Ratcliffe Implement Company.

Bud later moved the operation to 33 West 1st Street. He sold out to Ted McMillan in February 1964, who renamed it to the Cheney Implement Company.

The old Ratcliffe building remained a part of the Ford garage and was used as the auto body repair and paint shop.

In January 1963, Mark Ratcliffe accepted a 50-year plaque awarded at a meeting of the Pacific Northwest dealers in Seattle. 

Don Helm and Ron Rehn acquired the Ratcliffe Ford dealership 1 April 1964 when Mark Ratcliffe retired after 40 years. Five years later, the company boasted that they were the second largest business employer in the city with 23 on staff, while the National Biscuit Company mill had 25 employees.

Violet Thompson Ash also had a long tenure with the company. She joined at age 24 in 1936 when the office staff consisted of Mark Ratcliffe, manager; Roy Hansen, bookkeeper; and Adolphe Smith, salesman. Mrs. Ash's responsibilities grew; she spent 33 years as the dealership office manager. Employees called her invaluable to the operation and the mainstay of the business. She retired in 1978 after 41 years with the company.

In April 1979, Ron Rehn and Don Helm celebrated their 15-year partnership along with the Ratcliffe company's 95th year in Cheney. The following year, Ron retired, and Don brought in new partners Dan and Shirley Damon.

Between 1990 and 1994 the dealership was known as Jerry Reynolds' Ford, and in 1995 it was renamed Bonanza Ford after it was purchased by Mark and Deborah Loy.

In August 2001, the Bonanza Ford dealership moved into a $2.3 million facility next to the Four Lakes interchange with I-90. The old buildings in Cheney were demolished in January 2002 to make way for Brewster Hall.

The story of the Ratcliffe Company is one of the important ghosts of Cheney's past.

Cheney Free Press 1959

Ratcliffe Family History