Buick is the one constant in the Joyces’ 60 years of auto sales – Mansfield News Journal
MANSFIELD – The Joyce family business is marking a milestone this month.
The Joyce family has sold Buicks since 1957, not to mention operating several automobile franchises over the years at the same time including Renault, British Leyland, Opel, Triumph, Pontiac, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Saturn and GMC — all in Mansfield.
Brothers Brian Joyce and Bill Joyce are co-owners of Joyce Buick GMC on Park Avenue West’s Miracle Mile, and they are the second generation of Joyces in the business started by their father, William D., and uncle Francis.
The business began in 1957 when William and his brother Francis, now both deceased, rented an older downtown building for their dealership at 116 Park Avenue West, the current site of the current Holiday Inn & Suites. The purchased the the Buick dealership and a Renault franchise from Mansfielder Roy B. “Mud” Gardner, a famous World War I pilot.
At that time, Joyce Buick operated a used car dealership on the northeast corner of Bowman Street and Park Avenue West, which kept the salesmen running up and down PAW.
In 1963, the founders decided to move west on Park Avenue West to the current location on what was then the outskirts of town, Brian Joyce said.
“Initially business was not too good and they though, oh no, what have we done?” Brian said. “We’ve left the hub (downtown Mansfield). We’ve made a mistake. In time they knew they had done the right thing as businesses grew farther and farther from downtown,” he said.
The dealership kept selling Buicks.
“We had the Triumph franchise, and our brother Bob was on the Jimmy Fallon Show,” Brian said. ”He (Fallon) asked him what was the first car he ever drove, and he told them a Triumph TR6. Jimmy thought he was talking motorcycles.
“They don’t make the Triumphs anymore but that was a good franchise we had. And we had Rovers from 1968 through 1976 in addition to Buicks. Buicks never changed. That’s the hinge pin that has been here for 60 years,” he added.
Over the years, the Joyce dealership sold British Leylands, Mitsubishis, and Yugos for awhile. In 1992, the new GM Saturn brand came to Mansfield and the Joyces were chosen to be the Saturn dealer.
“They were an excellent franchise, and we chose Saturn over Mitsubishi and expanded the building,” he said.
A General Motors town with the stamping plant then operating in Ontario, the Joyces then sold General Motors products exclusively, Buicks and Saturns.
In 2005, the Joyce family acquired the Pontiac franchise.
In 2008, the family acquired the GMC franchise.
When the General Motors bankruptcy occurred soon after, the Saturns and Pontiacs lines were eliminated.
In 2014, the family business on PAW completely remodeled the original dealership building.
”It’s a good design. It’s more customer friendly with a much better customer lounge and it has a much better display in the showroom. And it has something that does make sense. There is a national recognition and all Buick GMC stores have the same exterior and basically the same interiors,” Brian said.
Bill and Brian Joyce said at their father’s urging, both sons worked for other dealerships after college, then they joined the family operation, something they agree has helped them.
They said they learned a lot from their father.
“I remember him saying it’s easy to sell a car to someone once but if you want them to buy again and again, you have to do the right thing by them and take care of them in service,” Brian said.
“We’ve always done that,” he said. “We were the first Buick dealer in Ohio to receive Buick’s highest award, the Best in Class, and we earned it every year it was in place,” he said.
The Joyces were the first dealer in Ohio to receive Saturn’s highest Award, the Summit Award, for the same thing, Brian added.
“We continue to work hard on all fronts, from product training to customer satisfaction to competitive pricing in the new car business and used car business,” Brian said.
Both brothers said they have great employees and loyal customers, who they consider to be family.
The Internet has been the biggest change for the dealership, attracting used car buyers from farther away.
Bill Joyce said in one month, their dealership had buyers come to Mansfield from Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska for used cars, which at Joyce Buick GMC are called “creme puffs” because they are the creme of the crop cosmetically and mechanically, the Joyces said.
A third generation is now on board with Brian’s daughter, Sarah Joyce, serving as Internet manager, and Bill’s son, Brian Robert Joyce, serving as assistant used car manager.
Coincidentally, two of their cousins followed in their father Francis’ footsteps.
About 1965, Francis Joyce moved to Lorain to operate his own dealership, Joyce Buick, which in recent years relocated to Avon, Ohio and is now run by Francis’ two sons, Michael and Kevin Joyce.
“It’s the same family, cousins, but different businesses,” Brian said.