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Stanley Ford brings dealership to town

Posted: September 14, 2012 - 12:06am  |  Updated: September 14, 2012 - 12:17pm
Kevin Lauder, Executive Director of Dealerships for Stanley Ford, announces a new Ford Dealership will be opened in Juneau during Thursday Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Moose Lodge.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Kevin Lauder, Executive Director of Dealerships for Stanley Ford, announces a new Ford Dealership will be opened in Juneau during Thursday Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Moose Lodge.

Juneau is about to get a lot more Focus — along with other makes and models in Ford Motor Company’s automobile lineup.

Stanley Management Group Executive Director of Dealerships Kevin Lauver Thursday told attendees at the Juneau at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his plans to open a new Ford dealership.

The group owns the Stanley Ford dealership in Kenai, which has a staff of around 20 employees.

Emelia and Jose Stanley have owned the business since the fall of 2006. Stanley Motor Group also owns six Budget Rent A Car in Alaska sites and four Driven Auto Body shops. They have about 200 employees among their businesses.

The Stanleys started their automotive empire with a Budget Car and Truck Rental in Anchorage.

The Juneau Stanley location is planned to open at Mallard Street in early October, Lauver said.

“We will have new Fords on the ground in the first week of October,” Lauver said. “Cars in stock will include the Ford F-150 Super-Crew — our pride and joy, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, Flex, Edge, Taurus and Fusion models — many of which are offered in all wheel drive.”

The hope is to stock the lot with higher-end Fords, Lauver said, heavy on the Limited and Platinum editions.

Juneau also has the climate and road system that would make it suitable for sales and service of Ford’s electric Focus C-Max, Lauver explained.

“That is something you don’t see much in Alaska,” he said.

Lauver said he has already placed an order with Ford manufacturers around the U.S.

The company is already accepting orders for new or pre-owned vehicles.

Lauver said Stanley plans to build a new facility in two to two-and-a-half years. The group’s auto body business will move into the vacated property. Stanley will also incorporate its Budget Rent A Car franchise in Juneau and its Boss Plow business into the dealership.

“It is a neat triangle,” Lauver said. “Driven buys all their parts from the dealerships. Budget buys their cars from the dealerships. Driven fixes them and then after two seasons we resell them as certified pre-owned vehicles. It is a really neat synergy.”

Lauver said Stanley is a community-oriented business which supports local organizations.

“One of the things I’m passionate about is the jobs,” Lauver said. “We’ve already got half a dozen people we’ve made commitments to. Between that and the body shop there are going to be a bunch of new jobs here.”

Stanley will advertise for new employees, sales staff, parts staff and detailers and some management among other positions, Lauver said.

“Sales people make good money,” Lauver said. “You can be smoking a cigarette with a plaid tie, you have to be certified to sell the product.”

Stanley will offer training for management and sales, he said.

Lauver said Stanley has recruited Juneau’s Evergreen Motor Works and its Ford Certified technicians. Evergreen co-owner Dave Wall is Stanley Ford of Juneau’s new General Manager and he and co-owner Todd Thingvall are adding Evergreen’s moving lifts to the state-of-the-art equipment Stanley is bringing to the dealership’s automotive department. Evergreen Motor Works co-owners Wall and Thingvall started the business after the breakup of Skinner Sales and Service.

Juneau’s former Ford dealership, Skinner Sales and Service, closed abruptly in late 2009. Skinner had acquired Evergreen Motors in 2007.

Juneau was left with 114,000 square feet of vacant space, Carlton Smith, owner of the Carlton Smith Company said.

After six months of marketing and contact with the Ford dealerships in the Pacific Northwest, Bill Pierre Ford “flew in on a corporate jet and made an offer,” Smith said. Five months later they backed out of the deal. “This was in the shadow of the downturn, so financing was kind of hard to get,” Smith said.

Smith said the failure of Skinner gave pause to potential dealerships.

“Every time we showed the property to Ford franchisees and Ford corporate we explained that Juneau the community has strong fundamentals in terms of its economy,” Smith said. “It is pretty obvious the previous operators failed in many ways, but it wasn’t due to Juneau’s economy.”

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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