Adjusting to a decline in business

By Blythe Alspaugh -

SIDNEY — Buckeye Ford of Sidney used to service roughly 50 to 60 vehicles a day, but since the statewide stay at home order was issued by Gov. Mike DeWine, the business has seen that number decrease to five to seven vehicles a day.

“It’s way down, but we are still servicing some, and we’re still offering one hundred percent of everything. We have not cut anything out,” General Manager Jerry McName said.

With the stay at home, dealerships are classified as an essential business and many in the area remain open, but have had to cut back on hours with their staff. Buckeye Ford is no exception; according to McName, a good percentage of the staff was laid off last week.

“We’re kind of just operating on a skeleton crew, and with everyone staying home, we haven’t had a lot of business,” McName said. “We’re just trying to get by as best we can.”

Most people that have been looking for service from Buckeye Ford, whether it be regarding purchasing a vehicle or having theirs serviced, have been contacting the dealership online first. McName said that the dealership has seen a higher percentage of customers contacting them online, and that they are still taking phone calls during business hours. With the vehicles, the staff is cleaning and disinfecting regularly, and they’ve added seat covers and steering wheel covers, which isn’t something they typically do.

“We’re doing the best we can,” McName said.

McName doesn’t see things going back to normal any time soon, which is why the dealership preemptively laid off part of its staff, rather than try to cut back on everyone’s hours. Employees that were laid off will be able to return to their positions once stay at home orders are lifted.

“Currently, I think they’ll shut us down in stages, and in sessions, to not create so much of a panic. At this point in time, we don’t foresee to have to make any more adjustments. We should be in a position to maintain and keep services going with the staff we have,” McName said. “We laid off everyone with the intent that, once things get back to normal, to bring them all back.”

As for the future, McName has an idea of how things will unfold once people are able to return to their jobs and their day-to-day lives.

“What will be interesting to see is, I think service will rebound quickly, but sales will take a little while longer,” McName said. “If you were laid off for five or six weeks, you may not be in a situation to go out and buy a car right now.”

By Blythe Alspaugh

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.