Pratt Expansion Underway

By Jayna Smith

 

Additional space for new and used vehicles, as well as for more customer parking, is being created at Pratt Chevrolet Buick GMC on Route 1 in Calais.  (Photo by Jayna Smith)

The fastest General Motors dealership in the State of Maine—Pratt Chevrolet Buick GMC—is expanding its grounds.

This expansion, owner Ian Pratt explained, will allow for more customer parking, as well as more parking for employees and for vehicles being worked on. For the City of Calais, it also means more property tax base.

Of course with a growing dealership comes more vehicles on the lot. “We're also adding more area for vehicles to display to handle the increased inventory that we have,” Pratt stated. The dealership's lot currently carries about 150 vehicles, most of which are new. The expansion will allow for an upwards of 200.

Pratt attributes the expansion to the business' growing customer base. “I really appreciate all the customers for making the expansion possible, making new jobs possible, and for us to have more offerings,” Pratt stated. The additional offerings he referenced is the dealership's recent addition of the GMC brand.

The response from customers regarding the GMC vehicles now being available locally, Pratt said, has been very positive. “It's been overwhelming. We've grown tremendous amounts. It's one of the things that made us the fastest growing GM dealership in Maine.”

It's not just the GMC business, however, that is growing at Pratt. The Chevrolet and Buick business is growing as well. “We continue to grow and we've added a few jobs over the last couple of years,” Pratt said, reporting having 20 full-time employees currently.

“We recently extended service and are open six days a week,” he added, explaining that Saturdays at Pratt Chevrolet Buick GMC is a day like any other during the week. “Saturdays aren't just oil changes. You can come get your car worked on on a Saturday.” And of course the sales department is full service on Saturdays as well.

Not only is Pratt Chevrolet Buick GMC the fastest growing dealership in the state, it has also won more Mark of Excellence Awards than any other in the state thus far during its 19 years in business. But great customer service is not the only factor to consider when looking at its increased customer base.

“When people compare our prices to others, they find out that our price is actually lower. We've advertised for a while that we'll meet or beat any advertised price,” Pratt said.  And how a small-town dealership in such a competitive world is able to do this is simple: Pratt keeps his dealership's overhead extremely low.

“When you come shop here, you don't have to talk to a sales person, a closer, a sales manager, a general manager, a finance and insurance manager. That's a lot of overhead and a lot of different people. You're going to talk to one person from beginning to end. You finance with the same person you bought the car from,” Pratt said.

“We intentionally keep our overhead low. We're always busy, we're always scrambling. We don't over staff. Those expenses have to be passed on to somebody.

 

“Every new car dealer in the country pays the same exact price for the new cars, so there's no reason we can't sell just as cheap as anyone else. There's no volume discounts or anything like that,” Pratt said. “We're able to compete head-to-head, and our low overhead allows for every person who wants to buy local to buy local and they're going to save money to do it.”