VERONA ISLAND — Todd and Jennifer Bridges believed that when they relocated their Westside Auto Sales to 161 U.S. Route 1 in this town, business would increase.
They were right.
The Bridges opened Westside Auto Sales “down the road 1½ miles at our home” elsewhere on Verona Island last May, Todd said. Although “nobody knew it was there,” the dealership did well, he indicated.
But after the Bridges moved Westside Auto Sales to a highly visible site on Route 1 in December, everybody crossing Verona Island could find their business: right where the highway curves toward the Penobscot Narrows Bridge.
Sales increased immediately.
“We moved here for the visibility and for the better office” and larger lot, Todd said, standing in his sunlit office on a day when bitter cold gripped coastal Maine. Years ago the office served another purpose; when the building at 161 U.S. Route 1 was alternately known as Millett’s Restaurant or the Driftwood restaurant, the office was a banquet room. Bend in the Road, an antiques shop, later occupied the entire building.
Westside Auto Sales carries used vehicles ranging from 1999 to 2008 in model years. According to Todd, some 20-25 vehicles — ranging from sedans and pickups to SUVs and vans — are typically displayed on the lot, and “if a customer is looking for a certain vehicle, we can find it for them.”
He explained that weekly auto auctions take place in Auburn, Hermon, Newburgh, and elsewhere in Maine. The photos and descriptions of vehicles scheduled for auction are posted online, so when Todd seeks a particular vehicle, “I preview them online the day before the auction to see if it’s what our customer wants. Then we know that’s a vehicle we want to bring back.
“We buy private sales, too,” he said, explaining that car owners can bring their vehicles to Westside Auto Sales for appraisal.
Todd seeks “low-mileage, foreign and domestic” vehicles. The range of vehicles we have in inventory fits the range of what people are looking for,” he said. “The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a good seller for us.”
After undergoing a thorough mechanical inspection at the dealership’s service facility at 103 Westside Drive on Verona Island, each vehicle placed on the lot is capable of passing inspection, Todd said, and is offered with a 30-day, 1,000-mile inspection warranty.
“We have a new in-house financing program” titled Patented Quick Credit Approval, Todd said. “We can get approval for almost everybody regardless of their credit history.
“Our goal is to place our customers in vehicles that they can afford and they will enjoy driving,” he said. “The first tank of gas is on us; every vehicle we sell comes with a full tank of gas.”
Westside Auto Sales offers full service at its Westside Drive service facility.
Business has been good since the dealership opened at 161 U.S. Route 1. “People see us now, and they come in to see our inventory,” Todd said. Sales have been strong in Hancock County and Waldo County and to all age ranges of drivers.
Todd recalled that the first vehicle sold at the dealership’s new location was a 1996 Chevy Silverado sold to a man born in 1930. “He drove by and came back, looked at it, came in, and talked to us about a deal,” Todd said.
Many buyers “are looking for a good low-mileage vehicle they can depend on mechanically,” he said.
“A vehicle good on gas is a big thing,” Jennifer said.
Involved in the business with Todd and Jennifer are their daughters, Stephanie and Tiffanie, who work in the office. “We run this business as a family,” Jennifer said.
Westside Auto Sales features different specials. Currently the Bridges will waive the document fee on a vehicle purchased by a current service member or veteran who shows a valid military ID. During the first two weeks in February, Westside Auto Sales will offer a dozen roses with each vehicle “purchased for a sweetheart,” Todd said.
For more information, contact Westside Auto Sales at (207) 469-3888 or westsideauto103 or find the dealership on Facebook.