Wednesday September 26, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Those at the Auto Mall insist shopping for a vehicle at their company will make customers feel like they’re stepping back in time.

Not in terms of the decor, but rather in a sense of rewinding to the days of customer service.

General Sales Manager Bob Gammon said all employees focus on consumer satisfaction and professionalism.

"It’s the deals and the way we handle customers," he said, seated his desk. "It’s basically a family-owned business. It’s not real high-pressure. It’s like doing business the old-fashioned way."

Gammon said the business has been co-owned by Dave Gayle and Chris McCauley since 2002.

He and manager Gary Jarek agree quality along with rebates and low finance rates have resulted in a 20- to 25-percent spike in business since last year.

Jarek, the manager since Jan. 1, said the car dealership industry and the real estate market have taken similar paths, as the recession has produced low interest rates on loans. He said he appreciates the deals as much as the customers do.

Jarek, who worked in Melbourne, Fla., for 17 years before switching to Fairfield’s in Keene, N.H., for two, said it is the same situation at most car dealerships, from what he understands.

According to the New York Times, the auto industry in June reported a 22-percent sales increase, which surpassed all expectations. GM said all four of its main brands (Chevy, GMC, Cadillac and Buick) saw double-digit increases in June.

The Auto Mall deals in Chevrolet, Buick and GMC Truck and handles anything service related for General Motors. Jarek said the building sports 17 service bays.

"We have all the tools and all the technology," he said.

Jarek said the company has about 400 new and used cars in stock right now and about 50 employees, most of whom are full-time.

The Auto Mall has stood at 800 Putney Road for at least 30 years, Jarek said, and merged with R.S. Roberts (where Walgreens is currently located) years ago. Salesman Matt Speno said R.S. Roberts sold Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs and Jeeps.

Speno, 86, started working at R.S. Roberts car dealership in 1955 and has served as a salesman, assistant sales manager and part-owner during his tenure. He has been at the Auto Mall since 1994.

Speno, who drives a Chevy Malibu, said curiosity and a passion for cars have kept him in the business at his age.

"It gets in your blood after a while. You have to get up in the morning and find something to do," he said.

Gammon, who worked as a general sales manager in Springfield before moving to the Auto Mall four years ago, agreed with Speno.

"If it’s not in your blood, you won’t stick with it," he said.

There are currently some sales positions available.

For more information, call 802-347-1866.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.