BRISTOL - Crowley Auto Group is celebrating 50 years in business this month, having gotten its start on Jan. 1, 1971. In all that time, the company has continued to see steady growth, all while maintaining a dedication to customer service and supporting the local community.
Crowley Auto Group got its start on Broad Street with a Chrysler dealership and over 50 years it expanded into 11 dealerships that employed over 300 people. Crowley has received numerous recognitions over the years, including numerous awards from all their manufacturers, and still maintains the top spot in sales in the state for most franchises.
“I am fortunate to have a lot of good people working with me,” said Ken Crowley, chairman of Crowley Auto Group. “It has been a period of steady growth and the people of Bristol are wonderful as far as supporting us and being our customers. We have people that have been buying cars from us for years and years and I’m eternally grateful for that. This is a great country where someone like myself, who comes from humble beginnings, whose parents never had a lot of money, is able to do what we’ve done and to the degree we have.”
Crowley said the industry is constantly changing with new technology.
“As we see batteries with longer range, we’re going to see more electric cars pressed into service,” he said. “However, they still have to have more charging stations for them to be as convenient as gas vehicles. So, that change-over might not be as fast as some people are thinking.”
Crowley said he, like many local business owners, has been struggling due to the “terrible nightmare” that is the state mandated highway construction on Route 6. However, he credits his ability to remain in business to, among other things, his focus on customer service and the convenience of the body shop at 24 Redstone St.
“Our award-winning body shop does a great deal of work for all of our dealerships,” Crowley said. “We can match anybody’s paint, even if it is faded.”
Some Crowley Service locations are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Crowley said approximately 60 percent of his employees have been working for him for more than 20 years.
“If you’re not happy I want to know,” Crowley said. “I don’t get many calls so it seems like our people are doing the right job. But people can call and ask for me and they will get me; it’s only right. People spend a lot of money on their automobiles.”
Over the years, Crowley has made significant contributions to numerous charities and community organizations.
“You have to give back; you can’t just take everything in life,” Crowley said.
Crowley raised $1.2 million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through the Crowley Automotive Golf Tournament from 1997 to 2016. Crowley is also a supporter of the Bristol Technical Education Center and serves on their advisory board.
“We have a need for trained workers and we hire people from Bristol Tech whenever we can,” he said.
Crowley said he is also a big supporter of veterans. He makes an emphasis on hiring soldiers returning from tours of duty serving overseas. He also supports the local Veterans Strong Center at City Hall and the Connecticut National Guard Foundation, which collects food, money and toys for the families of the troops.
For more information on Crowley Auto Group, visit crowleyauto.com or call 860-584-6400.