Shorkey Auto Group Sees Bright Future in Austintown
from Dan O’Brien Youngstown Business Journal September 7, 2018
If the first full month’s sales are any indication, Jim Shorkey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram is in for a long, prosperous run in the Mahoning Valley, says one of the group’s principals.
“We sold and delivered 125 new vehicles during the month of August,” reports Jim Shorkey III, co-owner of the Shorkey Auto Group. “And that was when we were trying to build a team, train a team. That alone is very gratifying to see that kind of growth right out of the gate.”
Pittsburgh-based Shorkey Auto Group purchased the Bob and Chuck Eddy Chrysler dealership at 4950 Mahoning Ave. July 10 and spent the next several weeks preparing the staff and customers for the transition, Shorkey says.
The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 6 to welcome the arrival of the new owners.
“We’ve been growing pretty rapidly for the past seven years and we’ve been looking for more opportunity outside of the Pittsburgh metro area,” he says. “After reviewing the brand, the property, the Eddy company and, most importantly the market, we felt there would be a ton of opportunity here.”
Shorkey says the dealership posted the best buy/sell statistics during an initial month for any dealership in the auto group.
The Shorkey Group operates seven other dealerships – two of which are Chrysler Dodge Jeep retail stores – mostly in the Pittsburgh region. The Austintown location is the company’s first store in Ohio, which also includes the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands.
“We intend to grow this store, and then we’ll look for more opportunity in the Ohio market,” he says.
Moreover, Shorkey says the dealership was able to retain several key employees from the Eddy team, which allowed for a smooth transition to the new owners. “Fortunately, we were able to inherit a fantastic team of technicians and advisors from the Eddy family and they’ve been doing a great job,” he says
Justin Bradley, general manager of the Austintown dealership, says among those retained from the Eddy dealership were six members of the sales force, four managers and nine technicians in the service department. “We tried to retain everybody who was here when we arrived,” he says.
Within a month, Bradley says the sales team more than doubled in size, and there are plans to add more staff to the service side of the business once volume increases.
“We were welcomed with open arms from Day One,” he says. “Youngstown has a small-town feel with a big city market. We’re excited to be here.”
The Austintown dealership employs 52, and the group employs a total of 500 across its dealerships, Shorkey says.
“We’re a family-run company,” Shorkey says, adding that the auto group was founded by his grandfather in 1974. “Buying a family-run company and inheriting a team that worked for a family-run company for a long time- I think the transition went really well.”
Shorkey says the auto market overall is very strong, and he observes that the Ram and Jeep brands are performing especially well within the Chrysler portfolio. “Both are incredibly hot right now,” he says. “We’re finding that in Pittsburgh and we’re finding that in Ohio too.”
Consumers are still trending toward crossovers and sport-utility vehicles, Shorkey says, while even wagons are making a comeback because of their new, stylish designs. “I don’t think the trend will shift back to the heavy car market,” he says.