SHELL ROCK — A Ford dealership has closed after eight decades in downtown Waverly, but patrons of the brand don’t need to travel far to buy a new car or receive service.
Roling Ford, six miles to the west on the outskirts of Shell Rock, recently completed an asset purchase of what was Coonradt Ford for 85 years. The dealership had been sold Nov. 1 to Witham Auto Centers, who Roling Ford bought the assets from.
“We bought all their tools, we bought all the stuff inside the building,” said Greg Stockdale, Roling Ford’s general manager. “We’ve been working on it since late November.”
They didn’t buy the Waverly property at 903 W. Bremer Ave., though. That’s because the company feels it can better serve customers in both communities at their current Shell Rock site, 1150 Mason Way.
“We’ll accommodate them the best we can by offering the pick-up service, the loaner service,” Stockdale noted. If the Waverly location were maintained, he added, “you’d have to staff it, you’d have to manage it,” increasing the company’s overhead. “We just felt like Shell Rock was right for us.
“The purchase was made to better serve the Waverly community,” he continued. “We never thought this opportunity would arise.”
But the company saw a “good fit,” said Stockdale, something it hopes the Waverly dealership’s staff will see, as well.
“All of their current employees were offered positions here or with the Witham organization,” he said, noting they’re in the process of interviewing everyone. “We just want them to be comfortable with their decision.”
There is a difference in scale between the two locations, said Stockdale. “This site, it’s a lot bigger than Waverly.”
The Coonradt dealership occupied part of the block between Ninth and 10th streets southwest in Waverly and had no room to grow. The Roling Ford site is much larger and adjacent to undeveloped land if expansion is needed in the future.
Earlier this month, Roling Ford celebrated its fourth anniversary in the location. Prior to that, the auto seller had been a couple miles to the west off of Highway 3 at the former site of Shell Rock Ford. Owner Brad Roling bought that dealership in 2011.
Stockdale noted the current site is just about as close as the Ford corporation would allow their franchise to be to the Coonradt franchise. Thanks to the asset purchase, Roling Ford can now serve communities that are already united in other ways, like their common public school district.
In the past, the dealership couldn’t take part in community or school parades in Waverly or participate in promotional efforts there, such as fundraising programs, because of the rival Ford franchise.
“It allows us to go into Waverly with our new vehicles,” said Stockdale. “We feel like we’re Roling Ford Waverly-Shell Rock.”