John Sarat was a farmer in Southwick, but any chance he could get, he would spend time at the service station near his home, help around the station and tinker with cars. He was so
interested in cars, that he would go to the library and read books on auto mechanics.
John would later open his own service station and began selling cars. In 1929, he bought a Ford franchise and Sarat Ford – now Sarat Ford- Lincoln in Agawam, opened for business. The Lincoln franchise was added in 2010.
The original location of Sarat Ford, now a park, was on the opposite street corner from today’s showroom at 245 Springfield St. John Sarat later moved the dealership to where Sarat Ford- Lincoln’s body shop and commercial vehicle sales are currently located.
While the dealership John Sarat founded has expanded over the years, his grandson Jeff, who is the general manager of Sarat Ford-Lincoln, says that although many things have changed at the dealership, what has remained the same is the Sarat's dedication to customer service.
“Back then, when my grandfather founded the business, he brought the car to your house, and sometimes he had dinner with people, or maybe a cocktail,” Jeff said.
Fast forward to 2023, with 110 employees including 20 salespeople, and a shop with 25
technicians, parts and service staff, Sarat Ford Lincoln still makes house calls. Although they
might not stay for dinner or cocktails, Sarat staff will pick up a customer’s car when it needs
service and then deliver it back to them.
Sarat goes the extra mile with a mobile service van that will travel to a customer’s home or
workplace to do oil changes and other routine service that doesn’t have to be done in the shop.
Jeff said that the mobile service van can also handle reprogramming of a vehicle’s computer, which is very easy to do remotely, as well as many recall services. “It frees up our technicians to do the bigger jobs,” he added. The mobile service is so popular that Sarat has ordered a second mobile service van.
For service that must be performed at the dealership, Sarat offers customers convenient
options with a loaner car or a shuttle service to their home or office. “It’s all about making
things very easy for the customer. It’s all about service,” Jeff said.
So easy, in fact, that to buy a car, you never need to visit the showroom. During the height of
Covid, Jeff said Sarat was selling cars all over the country. Paperwork is emailed to the
customer, who DocuSigns it and the sale is completed.
The Sarats and their employees make sure excellent customer service is at the heart of their
business. Jeff’s dad Jack, works every day, 7 days a week, Jeff said – even if it’s a Sunday, he stops in.
Some employees have been with Sarat Ford-Lincoln for 20 years or more. One truck salesman has been with the dealership for 35 years and another employee is marking 40 years. “If you’re going to come work for us, you’re going to stay with us,” remarked Jeff. “Once you come to work for us, if you’re doing a great job, we promote you. If not, we educate and train you.”
“Where Customers Become Friends,” is more than the Sarat Ford-Lincoln tagline. Jeff said it’s easy to buy a new car when you come back to the dealership and see the same
salesperson who sold you a car before. Salespeople stay in touch with customers over the
years, sending them birthday and Christmas cards.
While customer service has not changed, cars certainly have. Jeff said technology is changing fast – hands-free driving is now available on some Lincoln models, and if the check engine light is on, drivers will get a text on their phone to tell them what service needs to be done.
“Vehicles are so much safer now, and so much more powerful,” Jeff said. Much safer and more powerful than John Sarat could have ever imagined back in 1929.
Sarat Ford Lincoln
245 Springfield St., Agawam
“It’s all about making things very easy for the customer. It’s all about service,” - Jeff