Riverhead Dodge becoming Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership

Riverhead Dodge on West Main Street was awarded a franchise Friday to be a Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership and is also planning a move to County Road 58.

Tony Strollo bought his current space in 1976 and has operated the Dodge dealership there for 41 years. Mr. Strollo, his son TJ Strollo and daughter Jane Millman run the business together.

In 2014, the family bought the former Out East Family Fun mini-golf and batting cage site on the western end of Route 58 with plans to eventually move their dealership there.

‘We’re presently doing things to put our new facility there,” Mr. Strollo said. “We’re squeezed now with the Dodge Ram. We certainly have to have a new facility with updated features.”

The current property has been a Dodge dealership since 1956, according to Mr. Strollo.

Mr. Strollo said they are designing the new building with an architect now. The new location will have a Dodge Ram Chrysler showroom and a separate showroom for Jeep, connected to one service department.

“Everything we want to do is easily doable,” Mr. Strollo said, adding that they are still going through the Planning Board process.

“I believe we enjoy an excellent reputation in the community,” Mr. Strollo said. “What we expect to be able to do is give our customer base a wider range of vehicles and reasons to do business with us.”

Ms. Millman said they’d like to break ground in summer 2018 and be finished in 2019, but no dates have been finalized.

“It’s going to be a modernized facility,” Ms. Millman said. “We’ll have more parking, it’s going to be a larger piece of property.”

Mr. Strollo said that there hasn’t been a Jeep dealer in Riverhead since 2009.

“There are many Jeep customers on the East End and those people were forced to go to neighboring communities and those people will be able to come back to a local dealer who has an excellent reputation,” Mr. Strollo.

The Strollo family is very excited to expand their business with a larger space in a more central location.

“From the point of view of the manufacturer, our location is a bull’s-eye,” Mr. Strollo said of the Route 58 site. “It’s right down the road from Home Depot, WalMart is up the street. We’ll be mixed in between the other car dealers.”

Ms. Millman is on the board of directors of the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association, a group representing car dealers on Long Island, in the five boroughs and in lower Westchester County.

“We’re going to be able to provide the same service,” Ms. Millman said. “People like coming here because it’s really a hometown feel. We’re going to keep that hometown feel with just a larger updated facility.”

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Photo: TJ Strollo (from left), Jane Millman and Tony Strollo in front of the Dodge dealership they have owned for 41 years. The family plans to expand and move to Route 58. (Credit: Rachel Siford)