Townsend Brothers sells auto dealership

 

Townsend Brothers Chevrolet has been sold to Wilmington-based Auto Team Delaware. (File photo)

Townsend Brothers Chevrolet has been sold to Wilmington-based Auto Team Delaware. (File photo)

DOVER — Expect a continuation of great attention to customers needs, the new Chevrolet of Dover ownership says.

Beginning Monday, another family will open for business at the former Townsend Brothers Chevrolet, a longtime staple in the local auto sales industry.

Auto Team Delaware has bought the Townsend family’s dealership, ending 86 years of serving the area’s need for vehicles.

President, Chairman and CEO Michael Uffner believes the Townsends would not have sold to just any company, but ATD was especially qualified for which to deal.

Michael Uffner

Michael
Uffner

“Though it’s not officially a merger, we consider this a merger of two old line family-operated auto dealerships in Delaware,” Mr. Uffner said.

“Because of that Jeff (Townsend) felt comfortable talking to us. We’re going to take over with a good footprint already in place thanks to Townsend family and the same people, except for a couple spots, will still be here at the dealership.”

The dealership at 1450 S. DuPont Highway in south Dover has an official grand opening scheduled for May 21; Auto Team Delaware said it’s excited to meet the community.

“We’re Delawareans through and through,” Mr. Uffner said. “We love the Chevrolet franchise and always have.

“We’re in an expansionary model and have known the Townsend family for years.”

On the Townsend Brothers Chevrolet Web site, Jeff Townsend posted an update on the sale, and thanked everyone who contributed to the family dealership’s success for decades.

“In closing I just want to thank all our customers, employees, vendors and suppliers for all the support you have given Townsend Brothers and to my family over the many years we have been in business,” Mr. Townsend wrote.

“This is a bittersweet decision but I do believe it is the right one at the right time. My family and I will still be living in the area and we look forward to seeing many of you in our day to day activities.”

Chevrolet of Dover President Matt Kersey will oversee daily operations at the new business site.

Matt Kersey

Matt
Kersey

“Every day it is going to be my home away from home,” he said.

Currently serving in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, Mr. Kersey is passionate about the opportunity to interact with Dover Air Force Base personnel in need of vehicles.

“One of our service branches is stationed in our area and that’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart,” Mr. Kersey said. “I want to bring to them the opportunity to make positive moves regarding a vehicle purchase whether it be new or pre-owned.

“I understand servicemen and servicewomen’s situations and want to work with them because of (what they’re doing for our country and the sacrifices they’ve made).”

Mr. Townsend said he believes Chevrolet of Dover will see success in the future, citing the leadership of both Mr. Uffner and Mr. Kersey.

“We are leaving the dealership in good hands with Matt Kersey being the new dealer …,” he said.

“Matt brings a lot of expertise to the store and is former military and is still in the Army National Guard …

“So I know they will work hard to make Townsend Brothers a great place to do business. I hope you will welcome Matt and support him as you did me.”

Deal works out

The deal process began in July 2015 when Mr. Kersey contacted Mr. Townsend regarding any interest in possibly selling the business.

“He hesitated for about five seconds and then said ‘Yes,’” Mr. Kersey said. “I brought it to Mike and couldn’t believe it was happening this way so quickly, it didn’t seem quite possible. It was a very fortuitous time for all parties involved.”

Added Mr. Kersey, “Chevrolet’s performance has been outstanding the last couple years. An opportunity like this doesn’t come along very often. We feel like we’re found a cloverleaf in a big field of clover.”

Parting with the family business was an emotional yet practical situation, Mr. Townsend said.

“This has not been an easy decision but with no family interested in coming into the business I felt it was time to exit,” he said.

The Chevrolet brand has thrived recently, and Auto Team of Delaware aims to keep it that way while continuing to grow the business. Leadership said the expansion plans would “significantly increase the staff,” according to Mr. Uffner.

“We’re going to be looking for technicians, body shop workers, and experts in sales who want to join us here.”

Auto Team Delaware also owns Cadillac, Subaru and Kia dealerships in Wilmington, and is the official service center for Saab.

“Our organizations run at a very high performance level,” Mr. Uffner said. “We run a volume business in the automotive world which allows us to be more competitive and aggressive to generate for the customers we see.”

Auto Team Delaware bought all Townsend Brothers assets and reached an agreement to purchase its real estate.

“We’re not moving the business anywhere,” Mr. Uffner said.

The transfer of ownership and ability to continue operations seamlessly made the move an easy one, Mr. Uffner said.

“The facility is modern and complies with updated General Motors requirements,” Mr. Uffner said. “We’re very happy with the way Jeff left it.”

Chevrolet of Dover aims to quickly build momentum as it welcomes new customers and returnees searching for a good deal on a vehicle.

“Soon there will be a lot of excitement and activity at the dealership,” Mr. Uffner said. “We have the capacity to bring a lot more inventory and choices into the environment. The pre-owned market has good potential in the Dover area and we’re always working to develop good banking relationships that can benefit the customer.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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