After 30 years in the auto business, salesman Tim Maurer can just about read people's minds.
"I know what people expect in a vehicle," he says. They want cost-efficient, reliable transportation that is functional and attractive – and they want a dealer who'll stand behind them every step of the way.
That philosophy has energized Tamaqua 309 Auto Sales to the point where customers are not only buying cars off the lot, but utilizing Maurer's expertise in locating and purchasing vehicles from Maurer's expansive network of suppliers.
The business opened Oct. 8 and has proven to be a hit with car buyers, starting from day one.
"The people of the Greater Tamaqua Area welcomed me with open arms. I sold to one family two cars within four days. If we don't have it here, we'll find it for you," says Maurer, of Hauto Estates.
He emphasizes that people want "the right vehicle at the right price, and that's what we give them." Demand creates a niche, and Maurer has found it.
Maurer spent his lifetime around cars, applying his skills in sales, management and private industry. He carries the torch of what is now a third-generation enterprise, as Maurer's family has a long history of providing area residents with wheels.
"My grandfather was Martin Kovich," he says. "He had the Buick garage in Nesquehoning and the Chevy dealership in Tamaqua."
The Tamaqua location later was acquired by Mike Hosak. Maurer's father also worked in auto sales for many years.
One factor in the early success of Tamaqua 309 Auto Sales is its location. Maurer adapted a one-acre parcel that at one time served as a Red Head gas station at 700 Railroad Street. The site is advantageous because the roadway, SR309, is heavily traveled – 8,000 cars a day. Among those are drivers who stop and peruse Maurer's selection of quality motorcars.
"My cars are set back from the road. I've positioned them so there is plenty of room for drivers to pull off and get out and visit," he says.
Banners, streamers and balloons now serve to ballyhoo the arrival of flashy cars, but it was only months ago when the site sorely required a makeover.
The place needed painting, construction, revamping, landscaping and all sorts of work. Maurer hired local vendors, suppliers and businesses for each step of the renovation project.
"I believe in keeping everything local and in supporting the local economy," he says.
To make sure the business was launched the right way, Maurer took advantage of three secret weapons – his wife Kathy, son Michael, and brother Martin. Kathy rolled up her sleeves and prepared the office for operation while also providing moral support. Michael engineered a total overhaul of the main building and garage, while Martin not only helped with the facilities, but applied his expertise in inventory selection.
"I couldn't have done this without them. It's a true family-owned and operated dealership," says Maurer. "And it makes a world of difference when people come and experience this level of service and dedication. This is a real family operation where the customer comes first."
The Maurer brothers complement each other as Tim is particularly devoted to domestic brands while Martin is an expert in quality foreign makers – although both admit they enjoy all car makes and models. Cars are in their blood.
How excited is Maurer in his role of furnishing people with the car of their dreams?
"I should have done this 10 years ago," he says. He also says he's delighted to be part of Tamaqua, where his family's rich tradition in automobiles was forged.
"I wanted to be on Route 309 – the 309 Corridor," he explains. "Tamaqua and the area was always good to our family. At one point, my dad sold 50 cars a month."
Maurer says the closing of dealers such as Maff Motors, Keich Motors, Hosak Pontiac and others has resulted in demand for a selection of quality cars at affordable prices in the local area.
"Not everyone wants to go to Pottsville or Hazleton to buy a car, and we're providing cars that are full reconditioned, serviced, detailed and warranted," he says.
The dealership will soon unveil a website, currently under construction by Bobby O'Gurek of Summit Hill.
Maurer and his team take special requests for cars, trucks and SUVs, and will work within any budget. Financing is available to qualified applicants on select vehicles. The business is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Maurer is a graduate of Panther Valley High School and an honors graduate of the auto body division of Stevens Trade School, Lancaster.
More information about Tamaqua 309 Auto Sales is available at (570) 668-1001.