MARYSVILLE — Although the O’Brien Auto Group doesn’t expect to open the doors on its new Honda dealership in Marysville until about this time next year, owner Michael O’Brien was so honored to be awarded the new dealership that he had to inform the community as soon as he heard.
“This business can be like fighting gravity,” said O’Brien, who touted his namesake auto group as already being the largest auto dealer in the Pacific Northwest. “Around 2008, a lot of car dealers kind of jumped off a cliff, but we’ve survived.”
In the four years since, though, O’Brien sees evidence from across the country that auto sales are finally rebounding to the levels of 2008.
“Honda is a major driver of that growth and, as a result, this should provide a nice boost to the Marysville-Everett economy,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien anticipates that construction on the new dealership should begin shortly after the start of the New Year, which he figures should give them time enough for an official opening by the fall of 2013, but he’s no stranger to year-long wait periods in this process, since he first applied for this dealership about a year ago.
“This is a pretty good opportunity,” O’Brien said, noting how selective Honda is about its dealerships. “Honda took a lot of care in awarding this franchise, and we’re honored to be viewed as the best fit to serve this important market of both Marysville and Everett. This is an awesome community to be in.”
The new Honda of Marysville will be a full-service dealership located just off Interstate 5, near the 156th Street over-crossing in Marysville. According to O’Brien, its 20,000-square-foot showroom, 20 service bays and “extensive” parts department will be staffed by 50-60 employees to start with, and will be complemented by one of the area’s largest inventories of new and used Hondas, as well as a fleet of loaner cars.
“We hope to hit 100 employees within the first year and a half,” O’Brien said. “It’s important that Marysville customers see some of their friends and neighbors working here. We’ve reaped the benefits of this community’s patronage, so we want to pay that back a bit.”
O’Brien proudly anticipates being able to offer a state-of-the-art facility with services ranging from no-hassle loans to VIP car washes, and even noted that trade-ins would not necessarily need to be just a Honda for a Honda.
Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring cited the O’Brien Auto Group’s “tremendous reputation for doing right by its customers and taking an active role in the communities they serve” when he asked area residents and businesses to hold off on purchasing Hondas until the new dealership is completed.
“We’re equally impressed by their commitment to employees and creating new jobs for residents in the areas surrounding each of their dealerships,” Nehring said. “It’s in all of our best interests to support local merchants as they help create jobs and grow our economy.”
O’Brien added that the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Overlake Service League are a few of the charitable organizations to which the O’Brien Auto Group’s dealerships have donated time and money. At the Nov. 26 Marysville City Council meeting, he also pledged to donate $10,000 to the Marysville Community Food Bank in honor of the city’s Volunteer of the Month for October, Food Bank volunteer JoAnn Sewell.
Founded in 1986, O’Brien Auto Group is a privately-held company that owns and operates 13 dealerships in Washington and Oregon. The company employs more than 600 people and had annual sales exceeding $500 million in 2011. More information on the company can be viewed online at www.obrienautogroup.com.