It all started back in 1937.
E. Clayton Gengras, one of the top Ford salesmen in the U.S., took a risk and opened his own Ford dealership. Gengras had learned some of his retail and customer service skills from selling bottled gas door to door after high school. "Clayt" was a driven man who cared greatly about his customers, employees and community. Clayt went on to become one of the largest Ford dealers in New England before diversifying his business into many different industries including banking, insurance, and transportation.
Clayt died in 1983 but there are still people who come in to see us and share stories of his impact on them. He set the standard for our business and instilled in all of us the importance of doing the right thing no matter what the circumstances.
Clayt's son, E. Clayton "Skip" Gengras Jr., purchased Clayton Motors in 1969. Prior to taking over the organization, Skip had several experiences that helped prepare him for the sales and service business of automobiles. He had been a service manager for the Connecticut Bus Company in Hartford and also spent several years working for the late Henry Miller in New Haven. Skip wanted to make sure that his customers felt comfortable in their dealings with Clayton Motors and made it very clear to all his employees that this was a top priority. After years of growth and success he turned that culture into his tag line: the "Comfortable Car Store" was born! In 1984, Clayton Motors moved from Burnside Avenue to its current location at Connecticut Boulevard in East Hartford.
Skip's sons, Chip and Jonathan, shared their father's and grandfather's passion for the car business. However, they were not allowed to work at Clayton Motors until they first got jobs elsewhere. Eventually they both spent their summers working in the service and parts departments at Clayton Motors.
In 1994, E. Clayton "Chip" Gengras III joined Clayton Motors full time and attended the National Automobile Dealer Academy to learn all aspects of the business. He spent his first 9 years in the business overseeing the service and parts departments. Chip is currently President of Gengras Motor Cars.
In 1999 Volvo contacted Skip to express its interest in opening another Volvo store in Connecticut. Gengras Volvo of Meriden opened in December of 1999.
In 2001 Gengras acquired Hartford Harley-Davidson on Wawarame Avenue in Hartford and began working on plans to move the business to a larger more convenient location for riders. In 2002 Gengras Harley-Davidson opened its new location on Governor Street in East Hartford.
In 2001 Clayton Motors became Gengras Volvo of East Hartford and Central Connecticut Volvo became Gengras Volvo of Meriden
In 2002 Jonathan Gengras joined the organization as CFO after 6 years with Ernst &Young and earning a MBA at Babson's Business School.
In 2004 Gengras bought the neighboring Newman dealerships and acquired 5 more brands: Jeep, Chrysler, Lincoln, Chevrolet and a full service Collision Center.
In 2008 Gengras acquired Wagner BMW of West Springfield on Riverdale Street.
As Gengras has grown we have never strayed from our vision: to be the most respected automobile and motorcycle dealerships in the markets we serve by building strong connections with our customers, employees, and community.
Why should you choose Gengras?
We offer the largest selection of products and services at the best price, while giving every customer a friendly, informative and efficient experience.
How do we do it?
By staying true to our core values: growth and learning, personal responsibility, honesty and transparency.
We will be there when you need us most.
Chip and Jonathan Gengras