It’s all about family at Metro Ford.

“I’ve been here since I was 14,” said dealership president Dave Dariano.

It was 1979. Until then, the Ford franchise was in Schenectady but wanted to be somewhere else. So they built the current building around 1968, Dariano said, which already included space for new/used cars and trucks, a parts store, body shop and after-sales service.

Over the next few years, ownership of the dealership changed hands until 1979. It was then that Dariano’s father, Leonard, saw an opportunity and “got a chance”.

Find out more: Outlook 2022 – Highlighting companies in the Schenectady region

“My dad worked at Jim DeNooyer’s Chevrolet on Wolf Road, but he always dreamed of having his own dealership,” Dariano said. “He worked very hard.”

His father had no money, but DeNooyer agreed to partner with him and together they became owners of 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 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 well. If they enjoy working here, they will be productive. And sell dollar for dollar. Be fair with the way you do business and don’t overload, but keep going strong,” he said.

This philosophy has proven itself. Today, the dealership has 100 employees who come to work and whose pay affects their own family and extended family, Dariano said. This also includes his brother-in-law, Dave Carach, who is vice president and director of sales.

“Our responsibility is that they have a job to do,” Dariano said.

Over the years, a lot has changed, especially with the pandemic and rising gas prices, which have also affected sales.

A good pre-pandemic month averaged 225 new/used car sales; since then it has been closer to 150 cars, he said. The number of new cars in inventory was also 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 companies use them for their fleets. Before we had around 200 used vehicles and now it’s 100.”

While Dariano did some renovations in 2014, what worked particularly well for the dealership was a change in sales methods. Since April, a customer can place a special order to have a car built.

“Builders will build for a customer faster than putting cars on an assembly line,” he said. “It’s more of a priority.

Dariano asks the customer to choose the model, even the paint, to sign a purchase contract and other documents, to show his driver’s license and in three to five months he will have his custom-made car.

Demands for all-electric cars and some hybrids are also high these days. 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 Explorer SUV.

In regards to COVID protocols, Metro Ford staff are all wearing masks in the store and offices are widely separated for social distancing.

Metro Ford

  • 3601 State St., Schenectady; www.metrofordny.com; 518-382-1017
  • Concession founded in 1979 and still managed 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

Find out more: Outlook 2022 – Highlighting companies in the Schenectady region

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