BY JIM KINNEY
HOLYOKE – Nothing says America like Mustangs, pickup trucks and pizza.
Soon, at Marcotte Ford, you’ll be able to buy any one of the three, or a sandwich or breakfast, or an Escape SUV or Ford parts, all under one roof.
“We did something crazy,” said Bryan Marcotte, the second of three generations to run the dealership. “We decided to build a dealership around a restaurant.”
It’s an idea Marcotte has had for a long time, starting with serving breakfast on Saturdays at the former dealership building. So the new Marcotte Ford dealership building will have at its center the LugNutz Cafe.
Marcotte hopes to move in to the new 40,000-square-foot dealership building and service garage in the summer of 2018.
Folks will be able to come in and eat breakfast or lunch Monday through Friday or have breakfast on Saturdays whether they are buying a car, getting one serviced or just visiting. Food will cost under $10.
Marcotte also said people won’t have to worry about getting a high-pressure pitch while they are eating.
“It’s a relaxed place to come, eat and talk about cars,” he said.
Marcotte Ford, in business in Holyoke from this stretch of Main Street since 1962, broke ground last year on a $8.2-million, 40,000-square-foot dealership building at 1025 Main St. The new building covers most of the old footprint of the 1962 building. Some of the structure, from what was the service department, survived.
During construction, the Marcottes have sold cars and light trucks from across the street at the former Gary Rome Hyundai dealership that the Marcottes bought after Rome moved to a new facility on Whiting Farms Road.
Mike Marcotte, Bryan’s son and president of the dealership, said they’ll move in to the new building in early August after just more than a year of construction. Once they move in, the dealership’s commercial truck sales department will move into the old Gary Rome building.
The new building will go with the $3.5-million commercial truck repair facility built in 2015. Marcotte already has a QuickLube service facility on site in a separate building with eight service bays.
With a patio-like outdoor showroom and an indoor showroom with “halo” lighting, the dealership reflects the latest in Ford-approved dealership styling.
Bryan Marcotte said the automaker OKs all the design choices from the wood trim to the shade of blue paint used on the walls.
The offices where customers sign their final paperwork have windows looking into the room where owners take possession of their vehicles and where their sales consultant explains all the switches and controls.
The service department features men’s and women’s locker rooms and a break room for technicians, as well as a computer room for techs to take online courses or certification exams from Ford.
“We were always trying to find a quiet spot somewhere for them to take a class,” Bryan Marcotte said. “This is better.”
The dealership has 142 employees, having hired eight new workers for the expansion. That includes three new workers for LugNutz Cafe.
“There are five Ford dealerships within 15 minutes of here,” Mike Marcotte said. “The difference we can make is our people.”
The Marcottes expect business to pick up with the new building and with some new Ford products on the horizon, including a new version of the popular but discontinued Ranger compact pickup truck and a new version of classic Bronco SUV.
Ford recently announced that it will phase out the Fiesta, Taurus and Fusion cars.
“Everything is moving to the trucks and the SUVs,” Mike Marcotte said.
Forish Construction of Westfield is the general contractor, and Bryan Marcotte said they’ve been careful to use local subcontractors as well.
“We try to do business with people who do business with us,” he said.