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EC car dealerships join forces with Allstate

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Ladonna Bruce (left) greets Annette Small and Herbert Small at Toyota of Elizabeth City during the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce's grand opening for the new Allstate insurance office at the dealership, Tuesday. Both Toyota of Elizabeth City and Nissan of Elizabeth City recently began partnering with Allstate to offer car-buying customers one-stop shopping for both cars and insurance.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, August 20, 2017

 

Two El­iz­a­beth City car deal­er­ships have joined forces with All­state in­sur­ance com­pany to pro­vide one-stop shop­ping for both car- and insurance-buy­ing cus­tomers.

Toy­ota of El­iz­a­beth City and Nis­san of El­iz­a­beth City re­cently set up space in their deal­er­ships for full-ser­vice All­state of­fices. The think­ing is that, since car buy­ers need in­sur­ance, why not have ac­cess to it avail­able on site?

“It pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for the cus­tomer for re­ally a one-stop shop,” Chris Dun­can, the new gen­eral sales man­ager at Toy­ota of El­iz­a­beth City, said of his deal­er­ship’s new part­ner­ship with All­state. “It can pro­vide all their au­to­mo­tive and ser­vic­ing needs, as well as pro­tect­ing them with in­sur­ance prod­ucts.”

Dun­can, who re­cently came to Toy­ota from a man­age­ment po­si­tion with a Mercedes and BMW deal­er­ship in Ge­or­gia, be­lieves hav­ing the All­state of­fice in-house will have a “calm­ing ef­fect” on po­ten­tial car buy­ers.

“It pro­vides a calm­ing ef­fect for a lot of peo­ple be­cause, quite frankly, one of the parts of a ma­jor de­ci­sion, as far as buy­ing an au­to­mo­bile, is, 'Hey, what is my in­sur­ance go­ing to cost? What are my op­tions as far as in­sur­ance?'” he said. “And hav­ing them right here at our dis­posal, right hand in hand, it re­ally just ties the en­tire process to­gether for us.”

Dun­can was dis­cussing the new ser­vice Tues­day evening fol­low­ing a grand-open­ing to an­nounce it at an event at Toy­ota spon­sored by the El­iz­a­beth City Area Cham­ber of Com­merce. The All­state of­fice is lo­cated in of­fice space at the back of Toy­ota’s ve­hi­cle show­room.

Also in at­ten­dance at Tues­day’s grand-open­ing was Michael Es­pos­ito, All­state man­ager at both Toy­ota of El­iz­a­beth City and Nis­san of El­iz­a­beth City. Both All­state of­fices at the car deal­er­ships offer a full line of insurance services and opened last month, Es­pos­ito said.

“It started off slow be­cause no­body knew we were here,” he said. “Now, things are start­ing to hap­pen — and more peo­ple from (au­to­mo­tive) ser­vice, with our in­volve­ment, come back over to this side of the build­ing.”

 

A New Jersey native, Esposito said he’s been with Allstate since early this year. He’s an old hand at the car business, however, having worked 20 years as a finance manager and sales manager at dealerships before taking a job working with union beneficiaries in Ohio.

Esposito said he currently has two Allstate representatives based at the Toyota dealership and one at the Nissan dealership. One is Adria Harris, an Elizabeth City native whose resume includes working approximately five years as a quality assurance inspector at aerostat manufacturer TCOM in Weeksville.

Harris said she had been working about a year as an independent life insurance agent prior to joining Allstate. She said she’s learned during her short time in the insurance business the importance of asking the right questions. She’s also learned, she’s said, how critical it is to engage customers in conversation as a way to build relationships.

"Once you build a relationship, the people begin to trust you," she said. "Once you are trusted, people begin to seek information from you that they know will help you in the long run."

Both Toyota of Elizabeth City and Nissan of Elizabeth City are owned by the Florida-based Buchanan company. 

Allstate, which dates back to 1931, today is one of the top five insurance companies in America.

Toyota of Elizabeth City is in the 1000 block of Halstead Boulevard. Nissan of Elizabeth City is in the 1700 block of North Road Street.

The Allstate offices at both dealerships are open from 9 a.m. to  7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Allstate office at Toyota can be reached at 335-1510. The Allstate office at Nissan can be reached at 337-9726.

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