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Upcoming Auto Sale Causing Concerns

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A Rochester-area auto dealer will be back in the town of Oswegatchie next month for a second 10-day sales event and town officials are joining local dealers in expressing concern about its allegedly detrimental presence.

Vision Auto Group of Webster has tentative plans to set up Nov. 1-10 at the former Dealmaker Ford dealership at routes 68 and 37.

The first sale on Sept. 20-29 went well enough for the dealer to do it again.

“We will be returning in November,” said sales director Massimo Castelli. “We had a lot of interest in vehicles after we left.”

But Lynn L. Blevins, of Blevins Bros. Inc., Ogdensburg, is still concerned that Vision Auto Group’s “gypsy” business strategy hurts his dealership in the long run.

“They’re operating out of a tent,” he said, adding that the dealership makes no contribution to the local economy.

The town board is sympathetic enough to Mr. Blevins’s concern that it will see if a local law can be enacted that would limit or even forbid temporary sales setups by out of town automotive dealers.

“I think that the people around here want to take care of themselves,” said councilor Michael G. Stoner.

Mr. Castelli defended Vision Auto Group’s presence here.“I cannot speak for the town board,” he said, “However, there are many entities that benefit from our event such as the Stone Fence Lodge, Sunoco, Monro Muffler, Bill’s Tire Center, Donut King Restaurant, McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, Dollar General, Advance Auto, Verizon, Price Chopper, Busters and many other local businesses we patronized while there. The tax that is collected from those services and goods remains in the county. The town board will determine what they feel is best for the town and all of its businesses.”

He also defended the dealership’s business strategy.

“Many customers that traded in vehicles had purchased them from surrounding towns up to an hour away or more, not necessarily locally,” Mr. Castelli said. “Customers should have a choice where they purchase a vehicle from.”

Mr. Castelli added that vehicles bought here are serviced by Bill’s Tire Center and Monro Muffler, both located in Ogdensburg.

Vision Auto has seven dealerships in the Rochester area.

The former Dealmaker property is owned by Alexandria Bay businessman P.J. Simao.

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