Tunkhannock Ford is moving its operations to a larger facility.
Matt and Dave Pompey purchased the dealership, formerly Gateway Ford, from businessman Paul Thomas in June 2017.
The brothers only signed on to a three-year lease at the time, knowing that Ford would immediately expect them to replace the building if they bought it outright.
However, recognizing that the dealership on 156 East Tioga St. was too small, they made plans to eventually relocate to an upgraded facility in the near future.
The Pompeys recently purchased 26 acres of property next to Creekside Gardens in Tunkhannock, just down from Walmart and their other local dealership, Tunkhannock Auto Mart.
Matt Pompey submitted payment for their permit application to Eaton Township on Friday and has signs ready to advertise the plans outside of the site. He said they hope to break ground on the new dealership this spring or summer, as soon as they get their plans finalized with Ford.
Eaton Township will also require a conditional use hearing.
“They need to give final approvals on what we build,” Pompey explained. “As a franchise, we have to build a set plan, and obviously every market is a little bit different, so we’re going back and forth with Ford to finalize the exact size and dimensions, but we’re making very good progress towards that end.”
Pompey said the new site for Tunkhannock Ford will allow for more growth and enhanced services.
“We’re excited. It’s going to be a big plus. We’re really limited in what we can do with the current facility,” he said. “It’s just too small. It’s very old. Gateway didn’t invest a lot in their facility, so it’s definitely a limiting factor for our business plan right now.”
Pompey said with a larger space, Tunkhannock Ford could employ more people, as staff growth is currently limited. There aren’t enough bays for technicians or offices for sales people and support staff.
The waiting room is also within the showroom, which isn’t necessarily bad, he said, but increased space will allow more comfort for both customers and employees.
Pompey commended his employees for dealing with some of the setbacks that come with working in an older building, and said customers will appreciate a more modern facility with better infrastructure.
With better infrastructure comes better access to Ford’s online tools as well, since internet connectivity could be an issue in the building currently being leased.
Pompey said he hopes the new Tunkhannock Ford facility will open by fall of this year, as the building process should happen fairly quickly.
Ford has a set plan, and the service department will be in a pre-engineered building that would go up in about a month’s time.
“The site that we’re building on doesn’t have any other structures on it and it’s fairly level. There’s not a lot of complicated groundwork or site work we have to do,” he added.
The most advanced part of the construction process would probably be installing storm drains since the site is near Bowman’s Creek, Pompey said, and Ford takes care of the interior work.
“Once we get the facility enclosed and dry from the elements, they’ll finish the interior, ship the furniture in and we’ll be ready to open,” he said.
When they vacate the facility on East Tioga Street, it will go back to the Thomases, although Pompey said he is unsure of what they plan to do with it.
In the past, people of the local community told the Pompeys they should keep the dealership local when they relocate it. While this is something they wanted to do anyway, they were pleased to be able to find a new space in close proximity.
Pompey said he’s been active in the Tunkhannock Rotary since 1998 and has grown to really enjoy the Tunkhannock community.
While the Pompeys own Scranton Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM, the bulk of their investments are in this area since they own two dealerships in Tunkhannock.
“I like the people, I like the community. As a business, we get treated very fairly. The township and the community leaders have been a pleasure to deal with,” he said. “We have rules to play by, but they’re good at communicating them and helping us make sure we abide by them.”
He said he doesn’t have this same relationship with the Scranton community, which could be antagonistic at times, and that his relationship with Tunkhannock is the way business should be.
“It allows us to be a better business partner in the community,” he said.