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Dealerships struggle in slowed economy, digital sales transition around the region

Life has changed significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic hit U.S. shores. Travel has been impacted, a large number of businesses are shut down, and life simply isn’t what it was before.

Local restaurants have continued to do takeout and delivery, which has kept income flowing to some degree – even if not sustainable in the long-term. Retail shops have moved to online sales, and while it hasn’t meant as much income – it has provided an opportunity to reach customers.

What about car dealerships, though?

Dario Hodge, owner of Tradition Automotive’s Newark location, spoke to the Times of Wayne County about his experience moving the dealership from brick-and-mortar to digital.

They had to furlough staff at the start, and work backward from there. “As owners, we feel horrible about this and this was the toughest decision that we’ve had to process in our minds,” Hodge told the Times. “We have great employees that deserve to work; and we really want them to, but based on current demand and the limited ability to actually sell a vehicle it’s impossible to do so.”

A number of sales people have not come back. While the dealership was able to bring back a few of its sales staff, it wasn’t able to bring back a large volume of them.

Service departments at dealerships remain open, as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s essential workforce.

“There are so many things that we are doing that there is no way I could list them all out. Everyday it seems like someone comes up with another great idea and we just go ahead and implement it,” Hodge added.

Even though business has slowed down, Hodge says they remain hopeful in the long-term that things will improve.