Kasper sells dealerships

Michael Harrington  Sandusky Register July 16, 2020

Firelands dealership has expanded into the Sandusky market with a multimillion-dollar deal.

Firelands recently bought the Kasper Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership on Cleveland Road and the Kasper Toyota dealership by Target near Milan Road (U.S. 250).

"We're excited to have a different array of products," dealership owner Pat O'Brien Jr. said. "Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Toyota are great brands, so it's nice for our customers to have a wider variety."

O'Brien has operated the Firelands Chevrolet Buick dealership in Norwalk since buying it from his father in 2017.

"We do very well in Norwalk, and it's a great market," O'Brien said.

O'Brien, who lives in Marblehead, realized the potential to expand into a broader market like Sandusky while doing his shopping in the area.

"I saw what a big area it is and the great opportunity it is for a dealership," O'Brien said. "It's a larger market, and it's easier for me to run it since it's close to the Norwalk store."

In January, O'Brien approached Kasper Auto Group owner Bryan Kasper to see about purchasing his dealerships.

"I've been at this for 27 years, and my dad (Gerald) has been at it for 44 years," Kasper said. "As a family, we thought it would be the right time to move on to the next venture."

Kasper knew he could trust O'Brien to continue the service people came to expect from the dealerships because of his past dealings with the O'Brien family.

O'Brien Sr. purchased the Kasper Chevrolet Buick dealership in 2013, which his son then bought from him and rebranded as Firelands Chevrolet Buick in 2017.

"Everything he said would come true there came true," Kasper said. "The things that are important to my father and me — being community-minded and good to employees — are important to Pat."

Kasper didn't disclose the two dealerships' purchasing price, but he confirmed it was a multi-million dollar deal.

"We're thankful to our employees for their years and service and dedication," Kasper said. "We're working toward new ventures."

The company still operates the Kasper GMC Buick dealership and collision center, both on Cleveland Road, and other commercial and residential holdings.

Firelands took over control of the Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership on Monday and the Toyota dealership on Thursday.

After evaluating and training, O'Brien wants to retain the dealerships' current staff and eventually double or even triple it.

Firelands will honor the forever warranty that customers bought at Kasper dealerships.

"I'm excited to get involved and be a good steward in the city," O'Brien said.

But O'Brien said Firelands doesn't plan on stopping. He's still looking to expand more into Sandusky and other markets.