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Towne Automotive adds GM brands by purchasing Baldo dealership

Towne Automotive Group sells lots of brands of new vehicles, but it lacked General Motors franchises in its lineup – until now.

The Orchard Park-based dealership has acquired Steve Baldo Chevrolet Buick Cadillac, 11208 Gowanda State Road, North Collins, which has adopted the Towne name. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Franklin G. Downing Jr., president of Towne Automotive Group, said casual conversations between himself and Baldo began about a year ago and eventually led to a deal.

“I always said I’d love to get a GM franchise – Chevy, Buick, Cadillac,” Downing said. “Over time, it went from just talking to an actual deal.”

Mark D. Sisti remains the dealership’s general manager. Sisti’s father, David, sold the dealership to Baldo in 1990. Mark Sisti “knows that local community, he knows that customer base, and he’s done a good job,” Downing said. “The store’s performed very well. We can take it from good to great; that’s our concept.”

Baldo will own an interest in the new entity and serve as executive manager. Baldo and Sisti will handle the dealership’s day-to-day operations, Downing said.

All 26 of the dealership’s sales and service employees will be retained, Downing said. Towne has already filmed a commercial with them to promote the ownership change.

Downing said the dealership sells about 400 new cars per year. He projected that over time, as part of Towne, the location can double that figure.

Baldo said in a statement that, for generations, the dealership “has been run with a commitment to the community and our customers. I’m confident that our partnership with Towne will allow our loyal staff to continue to serve our many loyal customers long into the future.”

Towne now has six dealerships representing 14 franchises. With the new deal, Towne’s total workforce will grow to 376.

David Sisti took over an Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership in North Collins from Frank Cheplo in 1974. In the early 1980s, the location added Buick and Chevrolet to its lineup. GM subsequently discontinued the Olds brand.

The Baldo dealership moved into its present location 10 years ago. Downing said the location has just completed upgrades that meet GM’s standards. Baldo still has a Ford dealership in Niagara Falls. He had sold Chevys at a dealership in Clarence, and had a Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Amherst that closed in 2007.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com