Premium Motor Car and Truck Sales and Choice Auto Repair can be found on Route 6, west of Tunkhannock adjacent to the Endless Mountains Visitors Center and in front of the Geisinger Medical Group building. Premium Motor Car and Truck Sales owner Karen Tomasello (above, left) and sales manager Keith Ullrich invite the public to check into the sales and services offered at both their businesses.
By Rick Hiduk
(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)
When Karen Tomasello and Keith Ullrich decided to construct a full-service auto repair shop next to Premium Motor Car and Truck Sales on Route 6 just west of Tunkhannock, they had two goals in mind: how to better meet the needs of those looking for cost-efficient repair work and getting the most out of an ace mechanic that they had previously only been able to employ part time.
“He knows mechanics inside and out,” Tomasello, the business owner, said of Mark Miller. “If it weren’t for Mark, we would never have built the garage.”
It surprises some to learn that Choice Auto Repair is open to the public, Tomasello related. “A lot of people thought it was just a shop for the dealership,” she said of the new pole-barn structure with its fully finished interior and bright lighting.
Miller (above) started inspecting vehicles purchased for resale at Premium Motors when the business opened at the site of a former antique shop six years ago. In addition to changing the oil and air filters on every incoming truck and car, Miller looked for anything that might become a problem.
“If you sell a bad vehicle, you get a bad rap, and we don’t want that,” Karen remarked, noting that she has seen other dealers put newly acquired trucks and cars directly onto the lot.
“We fully service every vehicle we sell,” added Ullrich, who as sales manager makes routine trips to auto auctions in Lancaster County with sales associate John Kocher because they find the trucks and cars there to be cleaner and rust-free. If the vehicle needs brakes, rotors, hub bearings or new tires, Miller takes care of it. “Ninety percent of vehicles need something,” Ullrich stated.
“The vehicles are also detailed before they are put out on the lot. That’s impressive,” Tomasello added.
‘Quality over quantity’ is their motto, and there are rarely more than 20 vehicles on the lot at any time. The extra effort to sell only premium used automobiles has paid off.
“I know we’ve done a good job because we’ve had people come back and buy three or four more vehicles from us,” said Ullrich.
“One family bought three Ford Escapes for their college-bound children,” Tomasello noted.
Miller’s reputation for working quickly and efficiently made his promotion from the lot to the garage an easy decision, and many customers who had purchased vehicles from the dealership instantly sought out his services for their other trucks and cars.
“He has the ability to analyze and determine what parts are needed,” Ullrich offered. “He doesn’t just throw parts at a car. That saves the customers money.” That and the low overhead of starting a second business on the same property.
Miller was working on a sun roof for a Ford Raptor pick-up truck on the day of the interview. Ullrich indicated that a Ford dealership had quoted the owner of the truck an even thousand dollars for the job. As Miller worked nearby, Ullrich suggested that the cost at Choice Auto Repairs would likely be closer to $350. Miller is experienced with older and more modern vehicles, Tomasello related, but he prefers working on the newer ones.
The dealership and garage are open from 9 am to 6 pm Mondays through Fridays and 8 am to 2 pm on Saturdays, but staff and managers do what they can to accommodate the varying work schedules of their customers. They have gone to work early many times to meet someone coming off third shift.
They also enjoy seeking out specific vehicles desired by their customers. “If someone wants a 2015 Cadillac SRX, we may not have one on the lot, but we can find one,” Ullrich explained.
Maintaining a variety of stock is important, they both agree, but customer favorites over the past six years have included Chevy Silverados and their GMC counterparts; Ford Escapes, Chevy Suburbans, hard-to-find Chrysler Aspens and other SUVs; and Toyota Corollas and RAV4s.
“This market wants all-wheel drive,” Tomasello maintained.
“We’ve sold more than 150 Jeep Cherokees in the last four years,” Ullrich concurred. That’s why the popular vehicle is part of the dealership logo.
Premium Motor Car and Truck Sales can be reached at 570-966-6300. The number for Choice Auto Repair is 570-966-6340. Special deals for both can be followed on the Premium Motor Car and Truck Sales Facebook page.