ELLSWORTH, Maine — Darling’s Auto Group is expanding its presence in Ellsworth by purchasing Morrison Chevrolet.
Darling’s, which already operates car dealerships in Ellsworth as well as in Bangor and Augusta, plans to take over Morrison Chevrolet at the beginning of February. Kevin Tesseo, general manager of Darling’s Auto Mall in Ellsworth, said he expects the current staff of roughly 40 people at Morrison to remain on the job after the transition.
“They have been a formidable competitor for years,” Tesseo said. “We know they have great people. Obviously they have a great product and they have a relatively new building. Our intention is to operate it with the staff that is there.”
The two exceptions are Morrison Chevrolet owners Bud Morrison and Clyde Lewis, who are retiring. Lewis said Wednesday that both he and Morrison have devoted roughly 50 years to the business but that now was time to step aside and let new people take over.
“If you’re going to sell something, you need to do it when you’re at the top of the ladder and we are,” Lewis said. “We’ve assured [callers] that everybody here is going to stay the same with the exception of Bud and I.”
Morrison Chevrolet was started in Ellsworth by Bud Morrison’s grandfather nearly 80 years ago. But Lewis said Darling’s has a strong commitment to the local community and that the larger network auto group will benefit the Chevrolet dealership and its customers.
This will be Darling’s first Chevrolet franchise. The auto group already sells GMC, Buick, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, Audi and Hyundai at its other dealerships.
Tesseo said the Chevrolet dealership will remain in the same location on Route 1, just down the hill from the other Darling’s location.
“It’s a great area for us,” Tesseo said. “We feel a part of the community.”