POLICE BUSINESS — Emerling Chevrolet had an unusual selection in its front lawn this week as part of the fleet of Rochester Police cars it services got ready to be shipped off to their new homes. Photos by Lizz Schumer.
BOSTON — Emerling Chevrolet is a rural dealership that competes at the metro level, according to General Manager Tony DiPasquale.
One look at the 12 Rochester Police cars that were parked out front, until they were shipped off to their new owners this week, large-scale construction on the facade and interior of the building, bustling body shop and parts center, not to mention almost 300 cars waiting for their new owners on the retail lot, and passers-by can see that there is more going on at this small-town dealership than immediately meets the eye.
CAN I HELP YOU? — A customer steps up to the service desk, which will be changing location to make parts and maintenance safer and more convenient for Emerling customers.
Russ Belscher, commercial sales manager at the Boston dealership, explained that Emerling provides cars to a variety of commercial and fleet customers, including a total of 85 cars to the Rochester Police force. The dealership has also held the bid for the Tahoe fleet for the New York State Police force since 2009, providing more than 400 trucks to that department, during the last four years.
“Those are shipped directly to the client,” Belscher explained. “These fleet bids work like any other contract. We bid on it and, quite frankly, we’re the lowest that comes in, which is how they’re awarded.”
A testament to Emerling’s success on the commercial end of the business came in the form of a letter from Ed Peper, the United States vice president of General Motors fleet and commercial sales.
“We were named to the top 10 business central and government dealers in the United States for July 2012,” Belscher said, pointing out Peper’s signature in ink at the bottom of the letter. “And we’re doing really well this month, too.”
“We sell quite a few fleets,” Belscher said. “We are competitive as anybody. There are some good-size dealers in the city and we beat their prices. People shop for price, safety and styling. [General Motors] has the best line-up of cars in the company’s history.They’ve made some major strides.”
Emerling has 225 new cars and trucks and between 70 – 75 used cars on the lot at any given time. The dealership also sells Western and Fisher snow plows, as well as parts.
HERE COME THE PLOWS — Bill Solak, sales professional at Emerling, showed off the stock of plows at Emerling’s warehouse.
“We sell about 650 snowplows a year,” Belscher said. “If you see a plow on the road, that’s probably one of ours.”
Belscher and DiPasquale both said the dealership’s biggest challenge is getting the word out about its competitive prices and service, since Emerling does not do as much advertising as some larger dealers in the area.
“We do have a lot of inventory, just like the bigger dealers. We don’t advertise like they do; we’re not on TV and only do a little radio, but we’re still very competitive. We’ve been here a long time,” Belscher said.
DiPasquale said the company’s commitment to both low prices and customer service are what sets Emerling apart.
“Our customer service index is consistently highest in the area. That’s measured by service and sales, which we stress very heavily. Customer service is what keeps us going. That’s very important to all the Emerlings; to all of us,” he said. “We have a dedicated commitment to this community. The fact that we’ve put about $800,000 into this renovation should show that we’re here for the long-term. We’re in it for the long haul, to take care of the people of Springville, Boston and the surrounding suburbs.”
He noted that he and his staff members are working to change the “popular perception” that prices are higher on vehicles purchased from a smaller dealership.
“We are a family dealer, but people are often not only surprised, but excited, to find that our deal is often better,” DiPasquale explained.
“We will sell 700 new cars this year. With the commercial and fleet sales, we’ll do 1,500 – 1,600 cars. Suddenly, we don’t seem so little, anymore. People don’t realize how much we do,” he added.
The Emerling family has been in WNY since 1939.
The dealership was started by current owners Carl and Roy Emerling’s father Maury as a Massey Ferguson tractor and Chevrolet sub-dealer in 1939. In 1944, Maury Emerling earned his dealer’s license and he began operating independently from that point forward. The Boston branch has been working out of its Boston State Road facility since 1972.
The long-established complex is getting a facelift this year, with a wide variety of improvements and additions underway. The project started last month and Belscher said he expects it to be finished by the middle of December, although some paving may have to be held off until the warmer weather in the spring.
“We are adding a large showroom, changing our office locations and installing handicapped-access restrooms,” Belscher said. “Our customer waiting room will have a fireplace, a big-screen TV, coffee; all that stuff for people to enjoy while they’re waiting.
“There will also be a new climate-controlled car delivery area so that, when a customer comes in to pick up a new car, it will pull right inside so they don’t have to go out into the lot when it’s raining or snowing,” he continued. “Our focus is always on the customer. Everything we do is to make the customer happy.”
Sales Professional Bill Solak explained that the additions, which include upgrades and reorganization in the business’s body shop and mechanical area, as well as the reception and office segments, will eventually increase the building’s square footage by 35 percent, with about 1,600 more square feet, including the 800-square foot indoor showroom.
Solak also noted that the service and parts area will gain a new office and parts pick-up desk, so that customers no longer have to compete with the in-store mechanics when they come to pick up parts.
“This way, each customer will have their own service representative and they don’t have to wait in line with the mechanics, who sometimes come to the desk looking for a lot of parts,” Solak explained. “It’s going to be a lot more convenient and a lot safer,” since the new desk location will be separate from the area in which cars are driven from the lot into the mechanic bays.
A REAL FIXER-UPPER — A mechanic works on a car in Emerling’s body shop. Cars can be brought to the body shop for reconstruction after a collision.
In addition, the body shop and detail shop have gotten new, energy-efficient lights, which Solak said are better for the environment and save on electric bills. “We’re making a lot of improvements,” he said.
At Emerling, which employs 67 people in total, the 10 salespeople on staff have more experience than any others in the area, according to Belscher.
“Quite a few who have had long-term experience right here in this shop,” he said, pointing out several who have more than two decades of sales under their belts.
“Our biggest sellers are the Equinox, the Silverado, the Cruze and the Malibu. We have a wide array of vehicles and a full line of both commercial and retail,” he said.
When asked why a customer would choose GM rather than any other manufacturer, Belscher said the warranty the company offers is better than any other on the market.
PARDON OUR DUST — Emerling Chevrolet is fully operational as the business undertakes a major renovation. Construction is expected to wrap up in December.
“Most companies have a five-year, 50,000-mile warranty, but GM offers a five-year, 100,0000-mile warranty on many models,” he said. “If you look at safety, a lot of our cars have more airbags, anti-lock brakes and five-star ratings for safety. GM is ranked higher than most other manufacturers.”
Whether a customer is looking for a new or used vehicle, needs repairs on an existing vehicle after an accident or is looking for parts, service or advice, Emerling is open for business.
Hours, directions and more information can be found on Emerling’s website, www.emerlingchevrolet.net
, or by calling 877-276-4761.