MOUNT VERNON — Ten years of providing the finest in auto sales and service is being celebrated at Donley Ford Lincoln. The family dealership at 1455 Coshocton Ave. completed its first decade of business in Mount Vernon on Jan. 26 after purchasing Dick Sabo Ford in 2002.
“We will be celebrating throughout this year. That will be our theme,” said Ryan Sponsler, general manager and owner of Donley Ford Lincoln.
Sponsler had been manager at the Ashland dealership of Donley Ford for seven years prior to moving to Mount Vernon in 2002. Scott Donley was owner of the business until Sponsler bought the majority interest of ownership three years ago. The family business also operates dealerships in Galion and Shelby as well, and Sponsler often spends time commuting between the four dealerships. The Donley Auto Group is also marking 35 years in business in 2012. It’s literally been a family affair, as Scott Donley and Sponsler are brothers-in-law. Sponsler has a brother employed here in Mount Vernon as well as a brother and his father employed at the Shelby dealership.
Donley Ford in Mount Vernon has experienced a steady growth over the past 10 years, now boasting 35 full-time and part-time staff.
“The road out here was just two lanes when we first started,” said Sponsler, stating how the business had to endure much ongoing construction as they were growing themselves. New construction has taken place at the facility, including a new entryway. Three additional acres have been purchased which will allow for expansion and further growth in the coming years. Sponsler said that there are plans for expansion including a new “Quick Lane” where customers can drop in with no appointment for quick routine services such as oil changes, tire rotations, etc. Additional lot space can also be utilized with the additional acreage.
“We were growing at a 10 percent pace until a recession hit,” said Sponsler. “But now we’re back on track. We’re growing again.”
Adapting to the Mount Vernon community has not been a problem for Donley Ford. “We love working in this community. Mount Vernon has really welcomed us and has been great to us, and we’re thrilled to call this home,” said Sponsler. “We love getting involved in the community, with charities, with schools and with boards. It is the best way to adapt,” he said, admitting that this works better for them than advertising.
And while a large city might offer more opportunity, it’s not the route that Sponsler would ever take.
“The big cities, they’re over-dealered,” said Sponsler, much preferring to work in Mount Vernon, which he calls a “close-knit” community. “It’s a numbers game. Our loyalty is a lot higher.”