Pontiac may have disappeared nearly a decade ago on Halloween, a victim of General Motors’ financial woes and bankruptcy, but for some, the brand continues to thrive. Jim Travers found such a dealership hiding in Norwell, Massachusetts, just south of Boston. The family-owned dealership doesn’t have any new Pontiac models on the lot, but the business has survived by dealing in used cars and relying on the service center.
The Hagerty story has gorgeous photos of the dealership, which looks like time has forgotten it. There’s a large blue, white, and red, old-school Pontiac sign above the showroom windows while the other side of the brick building houses the service center. A gaggle of old Pontiacs out front makes the dealership look like it’s out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
The dealership opened in 1928 with Herb Joseph as owner. Herb’s two sons Art and Philip took over. Today, it’s run by Art’s children Art and John who run the dealership, the third generation to do so. The dealership found success by focusing on service, which included remember customer names and preferences. It built a loyal following, serving as a gas station, service center, and dealership for the town. And the familial successors haven’t changed the winning formula.
Another key to the dealership’s success was ordering cars other area dealerships wouldn’t. Vehicles would be ordered with upgraded wheels, air conditioning, or FM radio—just a little something to set the new vehicles apart from others. The dealership would stock Firebirds with minimal options to keep prices low and would order stripped-down versions of others to help keep costs down for budget-conscious buyers.
More than 90 years after the dealership first opened, the gas station and service center continue to thrive. Returning customers are keeping the business alive, and the dealership’s lengthy history shows how far excellent customer service can go in making a business successful.