Business

Parr opens spacious new Bremerton facility

Eleven acres of land. Some 76,000 square feet of floor space in two mammoth buildings. A mechanics’ bay 285 feet long and 85 feet wide with 48 skylights and air conditioning. One hundred and twenty-six workers swarming around a $12 million complex.

But all the customer cares about is that sleek, black 2002 Thunderbird, with its retro styling, 265-horsepower power plant and a price tag in the $38,000 range.

Parr Ford, the largest new car dealership in the Auto Center area of West Bremerton, is now open for business.

And, according to owner Rod Parr, business never has been better, despite the economic slowdown.

“October was our biggest month ever,” he said.

Like many car dealerships these days, Parr is offering 0 percent annual percentage rates (APR) as incentive. And customers are buying. Asked about reports that car manufacturers are losing an average of $100 per vehicle due to the the percentage rates, Parr said that hasn’t been the case at his dealership.

“We’re doing fine. It’s a great time for customers.”

Parr gave a guided tour of the new facility on the west side of State Route 3 just south of Werner Road. Despite the rain Tuesday, Nov. 20, plenty of customers were busy looking at new and used cars.

Parr said he is prouder of the new way his company does business than the sheer size of the facility.

“Each office has a team leader and the same five technicians (mechanics) service the vehicle of the same customer each time they come in,” he said. “It’s kind of like taking your car to the corner shop, but with all the amenities.”

Parr has owned car dealerships in Bremerton for 18 years. He was born in Auburn and raised in Kent. He helped start Bowen Scarff Ford in Kent in 1965.

He studied creative marketing at San Jose State University in California and worked for Korum Ford in Puyallup in the 1970s. He wanted to work with a Ford dealership in Western Washington but wasn’t sure where. Research led him to Bremerton’s Auto Center — instead of Silverdale or East Bremerton — as the ideal spot.

He was a partner with Bennett Ford in Bremerton in the 1980s and eventually bought out the 17,000-square-foot dealership.

Parr broke ground on his new site two years ago. The land was hilly, which presented a challenge. An 18-foot high, 1,200-foot long retaining wall was built along the back of the site to level the parcel.

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