ELLSWORTH, Maine — A local used car company that has eight branches in northern Maine and traces its roots back to 1950 is being purchased by a car dealership firm from the southern part of the state.

Linnehan’s Credit Now Auto Co. is being sold to Lee Auto Malls.

John Isaacson, CEO of Lee Auto Malls, confirmed Friday that his company is buying the Linnehan’s firm.

“We are in the process of putting the final touches on the agreement,” Isaacson said.

Linnehan’s has dealerships in Ellsworth, Bangor, Brewer, Lincoln, Presque Isle, Oakland, Auburn and Westbrook. Linnehan’s corporate offices are on Route 3 in Trenton.

Isaacson said Lee Auto is buying both the dealerships and Atlantic Acceptance Corp., which is the financing wing of Linnehan’s Credit Now. He said Lee Auto plans to maintain all eight of Linnehan’s current locations and to continue operating them as Credit Now dealerships.

“That name seems to have a lot of recognition in northern Maine,” Isaacson said.

The Linnehan family car company was started in Ellsworth in 1950 by Harold “Tommy” Linnehan and then taken over by his son, John Linnehan Sr., who died in 2002. At one point the Ellsworth family owned and operated new-vehicle Ford dealerships in Ellsworth and Bangor.

John Linnehan Jr. is now the company’s chief operating officer. His sons, Ryan and Chadd, are both executives with the company.

Attempts early Friday to contact John Linnehan Jr. were unsuccessful.

Isaacson said officials at his firm have known and been friends with the Linnehans and their employees for years. Acquiring Linnehan’s will enable Lee Auto, which already sells used vehicles and offers financing for them, to get a “foothold” in northern Maine, he said.

Isaacson said Lee Auto expects to keep current Linnehan employees.

“It seemed like a very good fit,” he said. “They have extremely good people working for them. They’ve been very successful over the years doing what they do.”

The Lee Auto executive said the most specific he could be about when the transaction is expected to be completed is sometime “in the fall.”

According to its Web site, Lee Auto Malls has been in business in Maine since 1936. The company sells a variety of imported and domestic vehicles, new and used, at nine locations in Maine, including Auburn, Augusta, Lewiston, Newport, Norway, Saco, Topsham, Westbrook and Windham. Its financing arm of the business is located in Westbrook.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....