CANTON — The first car that Robert C. Lichty parked in the new home of Motorcar Portfolio turned out to be a 1972 Chevrolet Impala.

That seemed appropriate to Lichty because his business now occupies the former home of Eppy Chevrolet.

"It really looks like it belongs here,” Lichty said.

After 16 years of leasing space in the McKinley Grand Hotel in downtown Canton, Lichty was asked to move. He believes it’s because the hotel soon will be sold. Motorcar Portfolio had used 11,000 square feet in the hotel’s basement.

In early May, he moved his collection of classic cars three blocks south to the former car dealership. He has leased 9,000 square feet, which includes the old showroom and part of the former body shop. Canton City Schools and other businesses also use space in the building.

Motorcar Portfolio sells antique, classic and muscle cars from the 1920s to the 1980s. Most sales are conducted through the company’s website. Vehicles are bought and sold nationwide, as well as to customers in Europe, the Middle East and South America.

The company generally has 45 to 50 cars on site, Lichty said. Because most sales are online, a storefront site wasn’t necessary, but Lichty likes the location.

“I spent 16 years without windows,” he said, pointing to the large windows of the former new car showroom.

The building dates to 1923, with updates made during the 1960s, according to county records. Ben Eppy started out in a gas station at 10th Street and Cherry Avenue Southeast in 1929. After moving into used car sales, Eppy bought the former Art Nims Chevrolet on Market Avenue South in 1955. Ben Eppy retired in 1975 and his son, Jerry, took over the business. The dealership closed in 1997.

In addition to the nostalgic feel that comes with being in a former car dealership, Lichty likes that the location gives Motorcar Portfolio higher visibility. Clients from the Veterans Affairs office on the opposite of Market Avenue South have crossed the street to peer inside, he said.

He also likes that he could remain in the downtown area. His wife, Rosemary Rubin, has a law office on Market Avenue North at 15th Street Northwest.

“We feel supporting downtown Canton is an important thing,” Lichty said.