Showcase Car Dealer Shuts Island Doors End of This Month

By MANDY LOCKE

In 10 days, the Island will lose its only new car dealership when Showcase Isuzu Suzuki of Martha's Vineyard closes due to an inability to recruit and retain employees.

Nearly five years after Bourne auto dealer Bob Scena renovated the former Old Colony Service Corporation in Edgartown, his company will clear out of its home on West Tisbury Road in Edgartown on July 19.

"Over the past five years, it has become more and more difficult to staff the dealership properly in order to effectively meet our customers' needs," Mr. Scena said. "Finding strong, full-time, year-round employees was our most difficult task to achieve."

Showcase attempted to recruit Cape residents to commute to the Island dealership and service center, but had very little success - finding most skilled professionals unwilling to go back and forth each day. And when they attempted to invest in housing for employees, they found the costs too high to absorb.

"We attempted to be creative with our staffing process through housing support and mainland commuting options through the ferry service," Mr. Scena said. "The cost of housing was just too high."

Mike Moorhouse, the Island dealership's general manager, will relocate to the Bourne office. The rest of the Island-based employees - who learned of Mr. Scena's decision last Friday - have been offered relocation opportunities as well.

Islanders trying to schedule a car inspection or tuneup this week heard the news first, as employees in the service center refused to make appointments and broke the news of the repair shop and dealership's upcoming closure.

Mr. Scena said the decision to pull out of the Island did not come easily.

"This was one of the most difficult and laborious decisions I have had to make," he said. "The Island dealership and people are wonderful - they have done a great job over the years of serving Island residents and visitors alike."

The Island location's closing does not signal any financial crisis in the Showcase Auto Group - one of the Northeast's largest exclusive Isuzu, Suzuki, Nissan and Isuzu Commercial Truck automotive dealers.

While the Vineyard's dealership is closing shop, the Bourne location will add eight more service bays to accommodate additional growth. Mr. Scena said he remains committed to servicing Island customers at the Bourne facility, and is already planning a daily Woods Hole ferry pickup and drop-off service.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people of Martha's Vineyard for supporting us over the years," he said. "With all of our efforts, we have committed ourselves to supporting them in the future."