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New auto dealership in Brunswick sees employees as best assets

By Nathan Tsukroff

BRUNSWICK – Caring about your customers starts with caring about your employees.

That’s the philosophy of Otis Soohey, the general manager of the new Darling’s Ford dealership at 262 Bath Road in Brunswick. “Our belief at Darling’s is that our employees are our best assets,” he said.

Yankee Ford “was very concerned about their employees, as are we,” Soohey said. The dealerships worked closely to ensure a smooth transition of ownership. “Whether they’ve been with us for a day or thirty years, we feel (the employees) are part of the Darling’s family right away.”

“We know the old adage – if you take care of your employees, they take of your customers. Quite frankly, it works!” Soohey said.

Darling’s Auto Group purchased the dealership from Yankee Ford in December. Soohey stresses taking care of employees so they will take care of the customers. (Tsukroff photo)

The majority of the approximately 35 employees remained with the dealership, and Soohey said Darling’s is actually looking to add employees for its full service department. The dealership has 16 service bays and is looking to hire auto technicians of all levels of ability, from entry-level technicians to change tires and fix brakes tire-changers “all the way up to diesel mechanics.”

Modern auto repair requires technical knowledge of automotive electronics in order to diagnose issues, Soohey said. “I’ve become very impressed with technicians today. They can do both – they can do old-school, but with modern technology, they combine the two together. It’s pretty impressive!”  

Darling’s Ford also sells new and used parts in its parts department.

Darling’s Auto Group purchased the dealership from Yankee Ford in December to expand the Darling’s Auto Group family of businesses to the southern Maine region.

Darling’s has five other dealerships in Bangor, Ellsworth, and Augusta, and represents Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, GMC, Buick, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, Volvo, and Hyundai brands across these locations.

The Yankee Ford Brunswick acquisition adds a second Ford dealership to their roster. The other Ford dealership is in Bangor.

Darling’s has been a Ford dealership for more than 30 years, and has followed other Ford dealers in Maine throughout the years, Soohey said. “We always thought the Yankee Ford in Brunswick showed some promise.”

Darling’s Auto Group President Jay Darling said, “As the current Yankee Brunswick Ford staff joins the Darling’s family, customers can expect we’ll all be going above and beyond in their community.”

“I’m excited to see how the staff at Yankee Ford has been operating and to learn from their experiences in this region. We’ve been doing this a long time in Bangor, Ellsworth and Augusta, but southern Maine offers us an opportunity to serve a new demographic which can help us grow our business in both locations as we learn from each other,” Darling said.

The acquisition represents a continued investment in profitable growth and community development, two pillars in the vision goals of Darling’s Auto Group. 

A Ford pickup truck sits under a temporary sign at the new Darling’s Ford dealership on Bath Road in Brunswick. Yankee Ford sold the dealership to Darling’s Auto Group in December. The trademark Ford “sail” graces the front of the building. (Tsukroff photo)

“We think this is a great area and a wonderful market to expand our operations,” Darling said. “The Brunswick and Bath area is incredibly vibrant and we are very excited to become a part of this region. With its close proximity to Bath Iron Works, Bowdoin College, and the many other existing businesses in the area, we see a huge potential for growth in this market. We will be sure to do everything we can to make this transition smooth and efficient both for the current employees there as well as their customers.”

Soohey said Brunswick “is a new market for us.” He said Darling researched the area and sees a lot of promise for growth. The dealership is just down the street from the local Walmart and Lowe’s Home Improvement stores. Plus, “We have Bath Iron Works and Bowdoin College” nearby, he said.

Yankee Ford updated the look of the building several years ago, Soohey said, adding the trademark Ford “sail”, a standing curved piece at the entrance to the building.

A Maine-based family and employee owned company, Darling’s has been doing business in Maine for over 100 years with roots going back to 1903. Today, it is one of the largest dealership groups in the state.

With a corporate office in Brewer, Darling’s currently has more than 400 full time employees.

The company also owns and operates The Darling’s Agency, an independent insurance agency that has been in business since 2007 as well as Green Point Auto Parts and Auto Sales in Brewer, Maine.

Soohey said the Yankee dealerships “are solid” and continue to sell cars at their other locations in South Portland and Rockland.

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