The Tyrone area holds a tremendous array of unique, family-oriented businesses that, through community-centric culture and customer service orientation, reveal just how fortunate we are to live in northern Blair County. This reality was only strengthened in July of this year when new owners purchased the former Tri-Star Ford dealership along Old Route 220.
Jeff Irwin, a car dealership veteran of more than 35 years, along with his wife, Ruth, former Registered Nurse and vice president of Regulatory Affairs for the National Association for Home Care in Washington, D.C., transformed the business into the privately-owned Tyrone Ford dealership.
By not joining a larger dealership group and cultivating a family-owned business atmosphere, the Irwins work hard to create a culture where their employees, all of whom were hired locally and/or continued working at the dealership after the transition, can thrive and focus on bettering the experience for the customer.
Ruth, having a background in home care and human resources, stated that although “rules are important, we must be compassionate to the customers and employees,” mentioning that even though they retained 95 percent of the Tri-Star staff. “We wanted to honor our employees [who stayed with us], so even though their hire date changed, vacation accrual was considered from the previous owner’s hire date.”
Creating a caring atmosphere for their employees isn’t the only thing the Irwins are bringing into our area’s Ford dealership, as they are also expanding their service and parts department to include services for all makes and models of vehicles. “We have a master certified Audi and Volkswagen technician. We have a factory certified technician for Ford and GM. We are a state inspection station and offer emissions inspections for all makes and models. We even have a body shop that we are looking to expand.”
Jeff’s main drive is to continue to build up the service and parts department. “I started in this business 40 years ago in a Ford dealership in the service department. Service is very important to me; it’s the backbone of a dealership, but it also gets lost in the hype of new cars and pre-owned sales.
“The service and parts department is the unsung hero of a dealership. It’s an extremely important part, because you can make or break a relationship with a customer based on how the department functions.”
Jeff assured that business is going “very, very well” and they have received strong, positive feedback on the changes that have been made.
“We have a renewed focus on preowned cars, as well as a very strong focus on the service and parts side of things, and we are always looking for technicians,” said Jeff. “We have a couple positions to fill, because we are actively looking to expand our service department.”
In addition to the Tyrone Ford dealership, the Irwins also launched Pleasant Valley Car Credit, which is their own finance department that works with “approximately 20 banks and lenders […] for both new and preowned cars, many of those banks specialize in credit challenged customers. We have one person dedicated to second-chance financing. If there’s an opportunity to get somebody financed, we can get it done.”
Wanting to continue their integration into the local Tyrone area community, Jeff also mentioned that they plan to hold a grand opening celebration with a possible ribbon cutting through the Tyrone Area Chamber of Commerce sometime in late November, “centered around Ford’s annual Black Friday deals, and we invite the entire Tyrone community to join us!”
Everything from their ongoing deals on new or pre-owned vehicles (including the exciting Ford future in 2020 with an all electric Mustang-inspired SUV and bringing the famous Bronco back with three new models), upcoming community events and sponsorships, applying for financing through Pleasant Valley Car Credit, or even scheduling a service for your vehicle can be done online at www.TyroneFord.com. Tyrone Ford can also be reached at 814-684-4100 or visited at the dealership office, 4548 E. Pleasant Valley Blvd., Tyrone, PA 16686.