It’s all about family at Metro Ford.
“I’ve been here since I was 14,” said Dave Dariano, president of the dealership.
That was in 1979. Until then, the Ford franchise had been in Schenectady but had wanted to be at another location. So they built the current building around 1968, Dariano said, which even then included space for new/used cars and trucks, a parts shop, a body shop and a service department.
Over the next few years, ownership of the dealership changed hands until 1979. That’s when Dariano’s father, Leonard, saw an opportunity and “caught a lucky break.”
“My dad had been working at Jim DeNooyer’s Chevrolet on Wolf Road, but he’d always dreamed of having his own dealership,” Dariano said. “He worked really hard.”
His father didn’t have the money, but DeNooyer agreed to go into partnership with him and together they became owners at Metro Ford. That agreement still exists today, Dariano said. And the location is the only Ford dealership in Schenectady County, he added.
By the 1980s, Dariano had graduated from Scotia-Glenville High School and had continued to work at the dealership. Within three years he became a full-time employee. He learned two important points from his father, he said.
“Treat your employees like customers and treat them good. If they like working here they’ll be productive. And sell a dollar for a dollar’s worth. Be fair with how you do business and don’t overcharge, but maintain to stay strong,” he said.
That philosophy has proved a good one. Today the dealership has 100 employees who come to work and whose paycheck affects their own families and extended families, Dariano said. That also includes his brother-in-law, Dave Carach, who is vice president and sales manager.
“Our responsibility is that they have a job to come to,” Dariano said.
Over the years much has changed, especially with the pandemic and higher gas prices, which have also affected sales.
A good month prepandemic averaged 225 new/used car sales; since then it’s been closer to 150 cars, he said. The number of new cars in inventory has also been affected.
“Before, we had 400 to 500 cars in the back eight acres that people could choose from. Now it’s closer to 100 cars,” he said. “And used cars are now my friend. It’s supply and demand. There are fewer new cars because rental agencies are using those for their fleets. Before we had around 200 pre-owned and now it’s 100. “
While Dariano did do some renovations in 2014, what has worked especially well for the dealership has been a change in sales methods. Since April, a customer can place a special order to have a car built.
“Manufacturers will build for a customer quicker than putting cars on an assembly line,” he said. “It’s more of a priority.”
Dariano has the customer pick the model, even the paint job, sign a buyer’s agreement and other paperwork, show their driver’s license and in three to five months, they’ll have their made-to-order car.
Also big these days are requests for all-electric cars and some hybrids. These include the all-electric Mach-E, which is a Mustang, and the F-150 Lightning pickup truck, as well as the hybrid Escape, Maverick truck and the Explorer SUV.
As for COVID protocols, Metro Ford staff all wear masks in the store and desks are widely separated for social distancing.
- 3601 State St., Schenectady; www.metrofordny.com; 518-382-1017
- Dealership founded in 1979 and still run by the same Dariano family.
- 100 employees
- Full dealership includes, new/used auto sales; parts and body shops; service
- Only Ford dealership in Schenectady County