Cars

Two auto dealers top their game

ANOTHER DEALERSHIP: Herb Chambers is a happy man with two new dealerships, Herb Chambers Cadillac of Lynnfield and Lexus of Norwell.
ANOTHER DEALERSHIP: Herb Chambers is a happy man with two new dealerships, Herb Chambers Cadillac of Lynnfield and Lexus of Norwell.Credit: HERB CHAMBERS

Brian Heney, director of operations for the Kelly Automotive Group, has been recognized as one of “40 Under 40”—the top up-and-coming people to watch in the industry—by Automotive News.

As far as the Kelly group is concerned, that award was icing on the cake on what has been a banner year.

A week earlier, the same publication had placed five of the Kelly group’s eight dealerships on its annual nationwide list of the 100 best places to work.

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Honored were Kelly Honda of Lynn, Kelly Nissan of Lynnfield, Kelly Nissan of Woburn, Kelly Infiniti of Danvers, and Kelly Volkswagen of Danvers.

Heney and CEO Brian Kelly will represent the group at an awards dinner this October in Chicago.

The only other Massachusetts dealership to be recognized was Mini of Peabody, honored for the second straight year. It’s part of the Lyon-Waugh Group, which last year placed four of its stores on the list.

“We’re really proud of the honor,” says Heney. “We’ve been using it in our advertising and in our blogs. It’s a reflection of the way we do business. We do what we say we will, both with our customers and our employees.”

Each year, Automotive News asks dealership management to complete a lengthy questionnaire as part of the selection process, then distributes a survey to all employees.

“They [selection committee] told me that it’s typically a stand-alone dealership that wins, not a group,” says Heney. “It’s harder for a group to keep that family feel, but that’s what our founder, Roland Kelly, always stressed: ‘Treat your employees well and they will treat your customers well. You’ll have happy employees, the customers will keep coming back to you, and your shops will be busier than ever.’”

These days, the automobile industry is very much about real estate. Local dealership groups have been acquiring prime retail locations as they expand operations.

The Kelly Auto Group is no exception.

After building a new Fiat boutique dealership on Rte. 114 several years back, the Kellys have torn down that building and, shades of Joni Mitchell’s 1970 song, “put up a parking lot.”

That lot will provide parking for the group’s new and expanded Volkswagen dealership, one of the largest new VW facilities in the country. Construction is nearing completion.

And, like much of what has happened at the Kelly group of late, the timing is right.

“We’ve got 385 employees now, but will be hiring more for the VW dealership,” Heney says. “We’re hoping the national recognition will bring us top quality people.”

And yet more employees will be needed down the road.

The Kellys have bought the former Bostonville Grille property on Rte. 1 in Lynnfield, a large parcel located between the group’s Nissan and Chrysler-Jeep stores.

“It gives us the opportunity to have a big campus there,” says Heney.

With the Kellys poised to add an Alfa Romeo and Maserati franchise in the near future, there’s the opportunity to have a major Chrysler-Fiat platform in one location.

“We’ve got additional possibilities in the planning stage so there are some decisions to be made,” he says.

A common bond among the Kelly Group’s management is tennis. Brian and his sons, Brian Jr. and Brendan, played. In addition Heney worked as a tennis pro after college and his wife was a top-ranked player as a junior.

That interest found an outlet when the group took over as the automotive sponsor of the Boston Lobsters. “Our Infiniti store sponsored the Champions Cup when Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg came to town,” says Heney. “When the Lobsters relocated to Manchester Athletic Club, we reached out to the team and hit it off with their management.”

Two New Chambers Dealerships

Herb Chambers now is doing business at two additional sites, Lexus of Norwell and Cadillac of Lynnfield, giving the company 52 outlets.

Cadillac of Lynnfield joins Chambers’ Flagship Motorcars (Mercedes-Benz) on Route 1. Those dealerships are adjacent to the Kelly properties, making the area a growing automobile row.

The Lexus of Norwell store, located on Rte. 228 just off of Rte. 3, is only going to be a temporary location.

Chambers plans to move the store to a new location on Derby Street in Hingham, directly across from the popular Derby Street shops. He promises it will feature a magnificent showroom and state-of-the-art lounges to pamper customers.

Etc.

Chambers’ next Cars ’n Coffee event will be Sat., Aug. 10, at Infiniti of Westborough, located on Rte. 9 in Westborough. The event runs from 7-10 a.m. The other dates on this year’s schedule are Sept. 7 at BMW of Sudbury and Oct. 12 at Lexus of Sharon …. Today is Day of Triumph at Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Next Sunday, the lawn will be taken over by “Tutto Italiano,” a celebration of all motorized Italian vehicles …. Also today, is the 4th annual Pepperell Car Show at Town Field off Rte. 113 …. The folks in West Newbury are raffling off a restored 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge clone at the 5th Annual Lt. Kenny Fowler Memorial Show at Pentucket Regional High on Sat., Aug. 10. You can stop by the West Newbury Police Deptartment at 401 Main St. (Route 113), see the car, and buy a raffle ticket in advance. Tickets are $100 with a maximum of 600 to be sold (cena@westnewburysafety.org).

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