June 22, 2016
By Peter Murdock
New York, NY – There are many reason’s for Potamkin Manhattan’s enduring success on 11th Avenue in Midtown West — not the least of which, however, is the UAW Local 259 shop that staffs the flagship dealership’s crackerjack Service & Parts department.
“We’re proud to be selling American vehicles and the heart of these American vehicles are the labor unions that build and transport these cars,” says John Bruno. Jr., director of Sales & Leasing, Potamkin Manhattan.
Among the 32 union members who keep the Potamkin Manhattan shop humming are highly trained and experienced technicians who’ve been with the company for 20, 25 and even 30-plus years.
“It’s a very strong union,” Bruno says. “The guys are very strongly union and they give us great quality work because they’re able to make a fantastic living. They put a lot of pride into their work.”
Potamkin Manhattan has been on the same block for the past 43 years and recently underwent a 22-month renovation designed to enrich the customer experience even more. The showroom dealership located between West 50 and 51st streets is actually a three-story self-contained facility that allows for sales and service all in one place.
“The atmosphere here is great,” 57-year-old technician Roopchand Seepersaed says. “I really enjoy working here.”
The Long Island dad and UAW Local 259 member started working in Potamkin Manhattan’s Service & Parts department way back in March, 1983. Although it’s virtually an institution in NYC, Potamkin Manhattan continues to thrive as a genuine “mom & pop” shop with a warm family mentality.
And the union continues to be a major component of that special family dynamic.
“I talk to friends who have non-union shops and it’s a horror show,” Bruno says. “It’s like a revolving door for their employees. There’s never any cohesion. There’s never any fraternity or brotherhood. That's what really makes the difference in this shop. There’s a brotherhood out there. Everything is done on site — and they work together to make sure things work properly.”
That ethos has helped Potamkin Manhattan establish a loyal base of customers who continue to come back year after year.
“You have to form a relationship with the customer,” Bruno says. “You have to make a friend. Everyone knows what you paid for the car and everyone knows what they can buy the car for at ten other dealerships — and it’s usually within $5 of each other. So, you really have to make that relationship and convince the customer that you are the right person to buy the car from.”
John Bruno, Jr. has been with Potamkin Manhattan for 16 years now. Within his first five years of selling cars, he says his entire business was made up entirely of repeat customers and referrals.
“I made those relationships with customers,” Bruno says. “You have to find common ground and share that common ground.”
City employees who are members of the Municipal Credit Union already enjoy special deals and discounts from General Motors. In addition, Bruno says Potamkin Manhattan tries to extend supplier pricing — a special discounted price below the MSRP — to “every union employee that’s buying a car.”
Today, Potamkin Manhattan’s business largely involves leasing Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, GMC, and certified pre-owned Cadillac vehicles. Family vehicles with “teen technology” features that allow for things like hands-free texting and milage monitoring, are among the top sellers. But the flagship dealership’s inventory actually has something for everyone — from college kids looking to buy their first car for less than $20,000 — all the way to the CEO who expects to be chauffeured around in a vehicle costing six figures.
“Whatever your needs, I have the solution,” Bruno says.
To find out more about Potamkin Manhattan visit www.potamkinnyc.com or call 917-267-2780.