Though marked as an essential business, auto dealers like Jay Auto Group are seeing changes to their daily business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nathan Lancry, president and CEO of the group, which sells Honda, Buick, GMC, BMW and Volkswagen, said sales and maintenance have been affected by 60% because of the group’s “responsible and respectful stance in regards to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s instructions.”

“Because we took that stance, we as an auto group decided not to market our business for the purchase of selling and maintaining vehicles for monetary reasons only rather than me deciding to use this opportunity to serve the community, especially our first responders, grocery store employees and drugstore employees,” said Lancry, who attends Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood. “That is anyone that works towards helping all of us manage our way through these difficult times.”

When developing plans to serve and keep the community safe, Lancry said it’s safety first.

“We’ve made sure our employees are safe and we use the necessary sanitation protocol that Ohio and the U.S. government has instructed us to follow,” he said. “Beyond that, we have reduced our shifts to a split shift where employees work a half-day on and a half-day off. This gives each person the autonomy they need to comfortably come to work.”

Making sure employees feel safe is a large part of the plan to keep everyone healthy, the Solon resident added.

“For me and my business partner, Marc Jacobson, we always want our employees to come first,” Lancry said. “A lot of businesses put the customers first, but we prioritize our employees. We want to make sure they are safe and secure. In addition to that, we wanted to make sure we worked closely with customers that felt comfortable coming into the dealership because they needed a vehicle or need their vehicle serviced. We didn’t want people that did not have a need to come in and infiltrate the space of those who are in need.”

As a way to also then support the community, especially other essential workers, Jay Auto Group is working to make things a bit easier for everyone.

“We’re offering a valet service to pick up their vehicle or pick them up,” Lancry said. “We also amped up and quickly retooled our (website) to give the customer the freedom to actually complete a car purchase online. All of our dealerships have the ability to make transactions online.”

Additionally, Jay Auto Group is also offering “aggressive discounts” on car maintenance for front-line workers like first responders, grocery employees and those in the general healthcare field.

Though no one knows when the pandemic may end, Lancry said Jay Auto Group is taking the future “one day at a time” in the short term.

“But in the long term, we are going to work very closely on our employee and customer demands as they see fit,” he said. “We are in a position to be able to mold our business model around the needs and wants of the customers and employees. And we are in the process of now revamping the way we do business to be able to accommodate these requests.”

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