Lincoln Breaks Ground
By Richard Kaufman
The sounds of sledgehammers banging against concrete and the rumbling of a backhoe rang out at 366 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich on Tuesday, as the community celebrated the beginning of construction on the brand new Lincoln of Greenwich dealership.
Local elected officials and various members of Stamford Ford Lincoln, which is opening the new location, gathered for the ceremony at the site of what used to be Greenwich Motor Sales. The building will be torn down and turned into a state-of-the-art automotive boutique.
“I’m really excited to be coming to Greenwich,” said Stamford Ford Lincoln President, Dominic Franchella. “I want to definitely become part of the community and give back to the community. Paying it forward is the most important thing to me. I’m glad after being in Stamford for a number of years to come to Greenwich to try to be a part of this community.”
The boutique, which is currently slated to open up at the end of 2019, is the first of its kind for Lincoln Motor Company. The two-story building will feature a four-vehicle showroom, and will offer customers a unique, personal experience.
“Lincoln is all about effortless pick up and delivery. We come to you, whether we come to you and bring a vehicle for a test drive, or pick your vehicle up and deliver it for service; everything is about respecting the luxury client’s time,” Franchella said, noting that vehicles will be brought to Stamford Ford Lincoln for service.
“When you walk in you’re not going to walk into a place where you’re just greeted and you’re brought out to a car. There’s going to be sofas, and areas with big screen TV’s and a cafe. It’s about you; we tailor the experience to you,” he added. “We can go conventionally into an office, but most of what we’ll do is on iPads and just a comfortable setting where you feel like you’re sitting there going at your pace, not our pace.”
First Selectman, Peter Tesei, said he’s excited to welcome a new business to town.
“Dominic Franchella has a tremendous franchise and it’s a great product, and we’re pleased they’re investing here in the town of Greenwich. We know that they’ll enjoy tremendous success with their new showroom and the product that they are selling,” Tesei said. “As someone who drives a Lincoln, I’m happy to welcome them to town, and I know they have a great franchise, both Ford and Lincoln.”
The current building was owned by Jon Caviola and his family since they first opened up Greenwich Motor Sales, a preowned car dealership, in the 1960’s. The business closed in August of 2018.
State Rep. Fred Camillo (R-151) said it was bittersweet to have a business close after decades of service. “Thank God you have another established business coming in here and hopefully they’ll meet the same success the prior business had,” he said.
State Rep. Stephen Meskers (D-150) said he’s happy to see businesses invest in the Greenwich community.
“In some ways, it’s sad to see the turnover from a family that’s given its heart and soul to the town and been active in the community, but Dominic Franchella seems like he really has interest and a good heart. I think [the boutique] will bring needed economic development to the town,” he said.
Franchella said that when he first walked into the building two years ago when he came up with the idea for the boutique, he noticed a portrait of Jon Caviola’s father hanging in the showroom.
“Jon’s mother and father used to bring their family to Marianacci’s restaurant [in Port Chester], which is my uncle’s. I used to wait on his mother and father all the time, so there was an immediate connection,” Franchella said. “I’m really happy and proud to carry on a tradition that hopefully I can make him proud. He’s a great guy with a great family. I know it’s a bittersweet day for him, but I’m going to do everything I can to carry on the tradition that his father and he kept on here.”
Caviola was emotional during the ceremony as he watched with his family.
“I love Dominic,” Caviola said. “He’s a great guy. Of all [the people to get this building], I’m glad he got it.”