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The New North End

Updated: Apr 23

By Joel Wood & Allison Maggy Photos by Jessica McCafferty

What started as an auto repair shop in the 1940’s grew into a dealership in Malone, and eventually was followed by a state-of-the-art facility in Plattsburgh.

In 2014, the Bailey family completed a major expansion and remodel of their Malone dealership. Five years later they began evaluating the Plattsburgh market, realizing the potential that existed there. After taking over the lease of the existing Ford dealership on Cornelia Street in the city in 2019, the Baileys made an agreement with Ford that they would erect a new facility within the next five years.

It wouldn’t take them the full five however, as only a mere three years later, a new 38,000 square foot dealership now stands in the north end of the Town of Plattsburgh on Route 9.

To learn more about this impressive facility, we sat down with the owners of Bailey Ford, Steve Bailey and his son, Andrew. Their story stretches back generations, so let’s start at the very beginning.

A Family Legacy

In the early 1940’s, Steve’s grandfather started an automobile repair shop across from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York. At the time, he was working at the prison during the day and he spent his evenings working in the repair shop. The shop quickly became popular and he applied to become a Ford dealer.

“He received six vehicles before World War II mandated that production go toward the war effort,” Steve explained. That led to a huge gap in receiving any further vehicles. “It was practically 1946 before production resumed.”

Steve’s father and uncle went to work for his grandfather after they finished college and that’s when the business really started to grow. The year was 1959 and the shop in Dannemora was booming. It was going so well that Ford approached the Bailey family to open a dealership in Malone.

Construction of the Malone location started in 1966, and the grand opening was held a year later. Over the years, Steve’s father expanded the business by adding a number of different product lines including heavy trucks, canoes, snowmobiles, and even other car brands, but when Steve took over, he decided to bring the business back to its original roots and focus on Ford.

“Around 2010 or 2011, the business had really grown and we wanted it to look like a Ford store, not a 1960’s automobile dealership,” Steve explained. So, in 2012 they added another third of square footage to the existing facility in Malone by taking the existing showroom and turning it into a service drive, building a new showroom, creating a customer waiting area, along with other upgrades. The project was completed in Fall 2014. “It was a major undertaking. The people of the Malone area appreciated the new facility, we continued to grow and we were really happy with that growth,” Steve reminisced.

The expansion of the Malone dealership would prove an invaluable experience when the father and son duo of Steve and Andrew decided to set their eyes on expansion to Plattsburgh a mere five years later.

The Right Location

“The first thing we had to do was to sustain the business we purchased on Cornelia Street. If it was going to take five years for the new dealership to be built, we needed the revenue stream to be strong in order to support the construction,” explained Andrew.

While sustaining the business, the Baileys began exploring parcels of land. “We had an idea of what we wanted, but we were having difficulty finding a suitable piece of property,” Steve recalled.

That’s when Steve called his good friend, Chris Akey, who pointed them toward an available 14-acre plot of land on Route 9 North.

“We were torn between the Tom Miller corridor and Route 9 North,” Steve said. However, after giving it more consideration, a variety of factors — including the easy access to the interstate and the ferry — made Route 9 North an ideal location for an automobile dealership. “We had, and still have, strong feelings that this is going to be Plattsburgh’s next growth area.”

A Proven Model/Sticking to the Plan

After identifying the location, the Bailey’s needed to identify a source of capital and funding to make the project possible.

“We ended up working with Allen Racine and his team at the commercial division of Community Bank,” Steve recalled. “The bank partnered us with the Small Business Administration and we were able to obtain an SBA-backed loan.”

Once funding was secured, Steve and Andrew focused their attention on the design of their new facility. “The design phase took an incredible amount of time,” Steve explained.

With the expansion of their Malone dealership, the Bailey’s had been restricted to the existing footprint and limited to the existing bones of the structure. With the Plattsburgh facility, they had the opportunity to start from scratch and design the building from the ground up in a manner that best served their business.

“The Malone store functioned so well, from both a customer and employee viewpoint, that we knew what we were shooting for in Plattsburgh because we had been through it before,” Steve explained.

The Baileys credit a lot of the success of the design and construction of their Plattsburgh facility to the work of Aaron Ovios and his team at Robert M. Sutherland (RMS) PC, a Plattsburgh-based engineering and surveying firm that the Akey’s recommended.

Ovios and his team helped the Baileys through the design process and helped them work with the Town of Plattsburgh Planning Board to obtain the necessary permits and approvals. “When we approached the [Town] planning board with our design and our desired location, they were great to work with,” said Steve. “They were excited for development on the North End of town.”

Local Products and Local People

Once the approvals were obtained and specifications were set, RMS sent the project out to bid. “We were fortunate to have Luck Brothers pick up the project. They were the general contractor. They had multiple subcontractors, but they ran the entire project for us,” Steve said. “Aaron stayed on as a Project Manager, so it made it fairly simple from my standpoint because we had good people monitoring the project.”

Almost all of the subcontractors were local. Ace Electric did all the electrical work, Lake Champlain Roofing was the roofing contractor, HeatWave/Rene’s Repair installed the HVAC, all of the steel was obtained through Jeffords Steel.

Luck Brothers had a foreman, Kevin O’Hara, and a project manager, Dave Pellerin, on-site throughout the construction process. “Dave, Kevin and Aaron all worked together well. For a project of this size, they made it easy,” Steve explained.

“Once the shell of the building was up, we made it a point to come through more routinely. Kevin was incredible,” recalled Andrew. “He would tell us, this is what the plans say, do you want it like this or like that?” “It was an easy project from a management standpoint and that is a credit to RMS and Luck Brothers,” explained Steve.

A New Building — Same Friendly Faces

April 2024 will mark two years since Steve, Andrew and the Bailey Ford team cut the ribbon on the new 38,000 square foot facility on Route 9 North.

The facility is equipped with a spacious showroom, complete with six seating areas for customers to interact with sales and leasing consultants; a celebration/delivery room where customers pick up their vehicles; a customer lounge with a flat screen television, comfortable seating and complimentary coffee bar and water; a retail parts counter; and a well-lit, clean service area that includes 17 bays, 11 technicians, and three service-drive lanes with high-tech Hunter-brand alignment readers that provide customers with free alignment and tire-wear readings.

The Baileys employ 37 people at the Plattsburgh dealership. The state-of-the-art facility has helped them attract top technicians/employees. Andrew explained that technicians are one of the hardest roles to fill, so it has been beneficial to have the advantage that they want to work at Bailey Ford.

“Our facility is clean, well-lit, with state-of-the-art equipment. Our employees get to work alongside great people, in a great atmosphere and culture,” Andrew explained. “The employees are really happy, which is directly translating to customer satisfaction. We have such a great customer experience because our employees are happy to be here and want to provide that experience.”

The Baileys are incredibly happy with the facility and are looking forward to continuing serving customers at their new dealership on the North End of the Town of Plattsburgh.

Bailey Ford

7189 State Route 9

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

518 561-5030

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