Federal Way car dealership falls victim to the economy

Pacific Coast Sales and Service closed its doors July 15. The car dealership was formerly known as Pacific Coast Ford. Last December

Pacific Coast Sales and Service closed its doors July 15. The car dealership was formerly known as Pacific Coast Ford. Last December

A vacant lot, bolted gates and years of memories are what remain of the long-standing Pacific Coast Ford car dealership.

Owner Floyd Little and general manager Scott Hogue made some hefty business decisions this past year. On July 15, nearly 19 years after the dealership opened in Federal Way, they closed its doors for good. The dealership, located at 33207 Pacific Highway S., was most recently known as Pacific Coast Sales and Service. Customers were loyal, but the economy was more powerful.

“I can’t control what’s happening,” Little said. “The economy tanked.”

Like other dealerships, prior to its closure, Pacific Coast Ford was having a difficult time moving new vehicles. The economy slowed sales, Hogue said. An estimated 70 percent of customers hoping to buy a vehicle faced credit challenges, and lenders were harder to come by, he said.

Meanwhile, Pacific Coast Ford was paying in the range of $40,000 a month to keep new Ford vehicles on the lot.

“The economy, at that point, was spiraling; the automakers too,” Hogue said.

In December, Pacific Coast Ford separated from the Ford company. Hogue and Little struck out on their own as Pacific Coast Sales and Service — a used car dealership.

“Franchises are closing every day,” Little said. “We thought we got in front of the train.”

Lasting relationships:

The dealership had a loyal customer base and a vested interest in the community. Little moved to Washington to start his business in 1990.

“I always wanted to be a Ford dealer,” he said. “(The dealerships) are very difficult and hard to come by.”

Hogue worked at Pacific Coast since it opened. The two men, combined, have nearly 70 years of experience in the car business.

“The community supported us and we wanted to continue to be here for them,” Little said.

They rearranged the business’s operating structure. They sold inventory to other dealers and replaced it with used vehicles. They purchased seized drug cars from Skagit and Snohomish counties.

Seizures can only be sold at auction and, by law, they must be sold to the highest bidder. The seized vehicles were displayed in clear view of passersby on Pacific Highway South. They brought more customers. Some visitors took an interest in non-seized vehicles.

“What we were trying to do was bring awareness to the dealership,” Hogue said.

It was not enough to sustain the business. Reluctantly, Little and Hogue made the decision to shut down their operation. They notified employees at the beginning of July. Little put his property, roughly 5 acres, up for sale.

“It’s been a good life,” Little said. “I can’t be angry. I can’t be bitter.”

Final goodbye:

Now, the buzz of humming electronics and a former salesman making last-minute phone calls are the only sounds inside the sparse showroom. Years worth of plaques, recognizing the business and its employees, still hang on the walls. Soon, the building will be vacant.

Pacific Coast was not alone in its struggle against a crumbling market. In June, sales tax on major auto sales in Federal Way was down $89,000 (55 percent) from year-to-date 2008 revenues, finance director Tho Kraus said. The numbers illustrate a decreasing buyers market. The city anticipates Pacific Coast’s closure will create a deeper dip in sales tax revenues from this category, she said.

Vague future:

Many of the dealership’s 30-something employees have already found work elsewhere, Hogue said.

Little is unsure what his next step will be. He is a man losing a business he’s labored over for two decades, but he remains calm and collected. He’ll take some needed rest. He may embark on another business venture if his property sells, he said. Little is sad to see his business go, but comforted by the fact that he did everything he could to keep it thriving.

Hogue appears calm as well. He is not sure where to go from here. He has a toddler at home and must find work elsewhere. Whether he will stick with the car business is uncertain. Many things must be wrapped up at Pacific Coast Sales and Service before Hogue can really begin planning his life from here, he said.

“I don’t know if there’s really time right now for emotion,” Hogue said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.

Best of Federal Way 2021
More Best of Federal Way winners/finalists share insights into success

“We focused on meeting our clients where they are.”

Marcus Wright.
Federal Way man’s dog training business thrives during pandemic

What started as man’s best friend has turned into a thriving business… Continue reading

Teaser
First large-scale, human composting facility in the world will open in Auburn

“It’s what nature meant us to do. We just do it faster.”

Owners of Manic Meatballs, Carrie Stalder (left) and Chad Stalder. (Photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Federal Way family owns Swedish meatball drive-thru restaurant near JBLM

A Federal Way family owns what has to be the only Swedish… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Fastsigns Federal Way (32610 Pacific Highway S. Suite b-4 in Federal Way).
Shop Local campaign supports FW business community

A local business campaign has now grown into a go-to site for… Continue reading

T
Tantalize your taste buds with these winning restaurants in Federal Way

Yes, it is possible to eat your way through Federal Way. While… Continue reading

Most of the Brickyard Pub staff members pictured at the bar's Christmas party in 2017. Photo courtesy of Celeste Locke
Brickyard Pub is here for a good time and a long time

Neighborhood pub voted Best Bar/Nightclub in Federal Way.

Northshore Automotive and RV Repair staff pictured (L-R): JR Moergeli, Jason Frank, Derek Carter, and front, Art Rood. Photo courtesy of Ryan Hoover
Northshore Automotive and RV Repair wins first Best of Federal Way award

The local repair shop is dedicated to serving their neighbors, owner says.

Five years of winning (and counting) for some Federal Way businesses.
Five years of winning (and counting) for these Federal Way businesses

Five is the new lucky number for several Federal Way businesses. The… Continue reading

Whole Foods grocery store entrance (Shutterstock)
King County considers grocery store worker hazard pay for those in unincorporated areas

The King County Metropolitan Council will vote during its next meeting on… Continue reading