Friday October 5, 2012

Former Nissan Dealers in Fulton Shift Direction

Partners open used car dealership after selling franchise
By Lou Sorendo

    The auto sales business in Fulton is experiencing a shift in dynamics.

    North Automotive, 271 W. First St. S., Fulton, is celebrating its grand opening this weekend.

    Business partners Patrick Hickey and Steve Besio own the dealership, which formerly housed Messere Car Corner at the intersection of state Routes 3 and 48.

    Hickey and Besio have been business partners for over 20 years, and operated Nissan North at 956 S. First St., Fulton, for 18 years.

    Billy Fucillo, the head of a 26-store car empire in New York and Florida, approached Hickey and Besio about a year ago with intentions to purchase the Nissan dealership.

    “We finally succumbed to his checkbook,” Hickey said. “He made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

    One might say Fuccillo made a “HUUUU-JA” offer, which is his popular catch phrase.

    His son, Billy Fuccillo Jr., recently opened his first dealership with the newly acquired Nissan franchise at 3893 U.S. Route 31 in Clay. Fuccillo Jr. reportedly will be the sole owner of the new dealership, which is located in the old Dealmaker Ford building next to his father’s Kia dealership.

    Besides the franchise, the Fuccillos also purchased cars and Nissan parts from Hickey and Besio, while some of Nissan North’s former employees went to work at the new Clay location.

    “Everybody else found jobs elsewhere,” Hickey said.

    Meanwhile, Hickey and Besio decided to stay in business and “do what we have always been best at for the last 25 to 30 years, and that is selling used cars,” Hickey said.

    The partners stayed at their state Route 57 location for several months before realizing that is was too much space.

    They recently completed their move to the corner of West First South and Broadway and continue a remodeling process. They are celebrating their grand opening this weekend.

    “It is much more suited to our size. We wanted to stock 25 used cars, and that many used cars in that [former] lot just looked lost. It looked like we were out of business, and we are certainly not,” Hickey said.

    Hickey said the new location features more traffic and higher visibility.

    Their business phone remains the same at 598-5800.

    Josh’s Auto will take over the former Nissan North location on Route 57.

    “We’ve been in Fulton for almost 20 years and have a good reputation,” Hickey said. “People know us. When we ran Nissan, we had the highest customer satisfaction rating in the country. We expect people to follow us and plan on doing business the same way.”