DODGE THIS — Joining the Emerling family of dealerships is the company’s newest acquisition, Emerling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, located at 195 West Main St. in Springville. Photos by Jessie Owen.
SPRINGVILLE — For many years, the Emerling name has been synonymous with such brands as Ford® and Chevrolet©, but, as of midnight on May 31, the Springville branch of the Emerling family of dealerships now includes the former Bob Johnson Motors on Main Street in Springville.
Emerling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram officially opened on June 1. “We have no experience with Chrysler®, Dodge® or Jeep®, so it’s new to us, but it’s exciting,” Head of Operations Evan Emerling said. “We are open for business. We are officially Emerling.”
Owner Carl Emerling said that he was approached by Mike Johnson, about purchasing the Main Street business, because the former owner wanted to keep the dealership in local hands. “When a dealer is looking to sell, they look for someone with whom they have a relationship,” Emerling said. “Many years ago, we planted that seed. We really hadn’t had the discussion before, but Mike knew that we would be interested.”
“This just worked out, with the timing and with Mike,” he added. “He thought we’d be able to take the business and its employees and keep going with it, better than an outsider would.”
The Johnson family has been in the car business for 62 years.
While the Emerlings were discussing the purchase with Johnson, they received a resume from Jason Powenski, a former Western New York native who wanted to return to the area from Atlanta, Ga. “The timing couldn’t have been more perfect,” Evan Emerling said.
Powenski is now the general manager of Emerling’s newest dealership, which is officially open for business. All of the Bob Johnson employees have retained their jobs, under the new management.
TEST DRIVE — The new Emerling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram offers a range of new and used vehicles, including Dodge trucks that feature what Evan Emerling called the “very popular” hemi engines.
The new general manager formerly worked at Damon Motors Inc., a Dodge dealership in Silver Creek. “I have owned a lot of Dodge vehicles, in my day,” he said. “I’m a big fan of the products.”
Carl Emerling said that the new vehicles complement those that Emerling Ford is already offering customers.
“We are excited,” he said, about the new acquisition. “Chrysler is excited to have us. We are excited to be here. Friends of mine buy Jeeps and now I can sell them one. Chrysler has niches that Ford does not. They’re world-class products.”
According to Evan Emerling, the Chrysler 200 is one of the most popular vehicles sold, at the Main Street location. He also cited a variety of Jeep brands, such as the Wrangler and the Cherokee, as well as Dodge Ram trucks, including the hemi and Cummins® diesel engines, as being high sellers.
“All three brands have excellent products,” he said. “We want to represent all of the brands, while satisfying our customers.”
The Emerling company bought all of the new vehicles from the former Bob Johnson Motors and is working to build up its inventory. It will also offer used cars, for customers’ convenience.
“It’s going to be interesting, to see how Chrysler does things,” Emerling said. “They have some great people there. The location has tons of potential. It’s a huge transition, but, with our reputation, I’m hoping that people will be curious about the change and stop in.”
Powenski said that the immediate plans for the new acquisition include cleaning, painting and putting up new signs. Carl Emerling said that he would like to build a new facility, within 5 – 10 years, to replace the existing facade, which was built in 1949.
“We will expand here, as much as we can,” he said.
Emerling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is a full-service dealership, featuring a sales office and a service and parts shop. According to Evan Emerling, “the body shop at the Ford location can accommodate the Chrysler vehicles.
“We work on Chryslers all the time,” he added. “Every technician has to go through rigorous training. Chrysler products are very technical. Most of the parts are made in America and the cars are assembled in the U.S.”
Carl Emerling said that he plans to continue selling all domestic vehicles. “Ten years ago, domestics had a disadvantage, because they lost touch with the market,” Evan Emerling said. “But now, domestic brands have made a major swing. They’ve evolved and adapted. I’d put their products against any foreign car. I trust what they’re putting out.”
Carl Emerling cited the “very loyal customers” Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep bring with them and said that his company’s No. 1 goal is to continue to put the consumer first. “We know we have to take care of people, or they won’t come back, for a second car,” he said. “We want people to feel comfortable referring their friends and family.”
Powenski said that his “vision is to adopt the customer-comes-first approach that Emerling has. I want to encourage referral and repeat customers. Happy customers keep coming back and send their friends and family members.”
The new general manager said that he has been meeting, one-on-one, with the dealership’s employees, to stress Emerling’s business philosophy. “The change has been very chaotic, but good,” he said. “Everybody has been super receptive. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
“The people who are here are all good, dedicated people,” Emerling said. “But, I want to take this location to the next level and will be adding new people, as needed.” Emerling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is currently accepting applications for all positions and Emerling said that he will be expanding, as much as possible, especially within the parts store.
“It’s trial by fire,” Evan Emerling said. “We’re learning by doing. Our No. 1 goal is still to satisfy our customers. Our customers should know that any time is a good time, to come to see us. No other dealership in Western New York can touch us, in deals and in service.”
Emerling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is located at 195 West Main St. in Springville and may be reached by calling 592-2881.
The location’s sales office is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The service department is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays, from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.