26 Sep 2018

A family unites to build a dealership group in Washington state

Being a car dealer was “not even on the radar” for Shannon Harnish as she was growing up, she tells Automotive Buy Sell Report. But the family business beckoned.

Now, Harnish, president of Harnish Family Auto, a dealership group in Puyallup, WA, has just finished some tumultuous years of winding down franchises and acquiring new ones. Through it all, the importance of unity stood out.

“Our slogan is Harnish Auto Family, and I feel blessed that our family is such a strong team,” says Harnish.

Family-owned dealership groups are often singled-out as a dying breed in today’s dealership world. The Harnish Auto Family shows the strength a united family brings to the business. That helped the group survive the Great Recession and continue to grow today.

Nursing not a fit

The group owns three dealerships in Puyallup and one in Everett, WA. They house Subaru, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and Chevrolet, Buick and GMC franchises.

Shannon has majority ownership in all the stores except Subaru, in which her father is majority owner. She is a vice president of the Subaru dealership.

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