Make us your home page

Scarritt Automotive ending its long history with Lincoln

SEMINOLE — Scarritt Automotive, one of the last of the original Lincoln-Mercury dealers in the nation, is planning a transformation.

If all goes well, the dealership will no longer sell new Lincolns, or any other new car. Owner Frank Scarritt, 82, would retire and turn the business over to his son, Morgan, who would sell pre-owned cars, and provide "quick service" repairs and other services.

"We're negotiating the sale of the (Lincoln) franchise back to Ford," Frank Scarritt said Tuesday. It's unclear, he said, when a deal might be struck and he declined to provide further details.

Ford ended production of the Mercury line last year.

Scarritt's devotion to the business is well-known.

"His business has been his baby," said Gretchen Cain Wells, chief of operations for the Seminole Chamber of Commerce. "He's an icon in the area. … I truly valued his expertise over the years."

Seminole council member Leslie Waters agreed that Scarritt's retirement would be a big loss to the community.

"Mr. Frank Scarritt has been a distinguished businessman in our community for decades," Waters said. "Although I do regret that the Lincoln new car dealership may be making a transition to pre-owned, I am certainly glad they will still be based on Park Boulevard near Seminole."

Scarritt has a long history in Pinellas County.

Scarritt's father opened one of the first Lincoln-Mercury dealerships in the nation at 216 Second Ave. S in downtown St. Petersburg in 1946. Today it's the only remaining original Lincoln dealer in Florida and one of only three in the United States.

In 1961, Scarritt moved to 555 34th St. S where it remained until 2000 when it moved to its current location at 8350 Park Blvd. in unincorporated Pinellas on the edge of Seminole.

The move to Park was prompted by Ford's Lincoln Premier program. Scarritt was the first in the nation with the new premier design, which was geared to project the more upscale image of the cars.

The multimillion-dollar facility and nearly 9-acre tract on Park had almost twice the space of the 34th Street site and was necessary for Scarritt to be certified as part of the Lincoln Premier Experience, which sought to make the car-buying experience better for customers.

In the new showroom, for example, the areas where sales people have desks and seats for customers were more open to avoid the appearance of high-pressure, captive sales pits. Space was included for a children's playroom.

As Scarritt works on turning his business over, he's not inclined to look backward or forward. He said it's too early to talk about memories of his 56 years in the family business where he has worked since he got out of the Navy in 1956. And, he said, he's not ready to speculate on what he would do once he retires, saying only "not work every day as hard as I have been."

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

Scarritt Automotive ending its long history with Lincoln 08/21/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 9:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa's Walter Investment Management restructuring, could file for bankruptcy


    TAMPA — Tampa-based Walter Investment Management Corp. is restructuring to cut down some of the mortgage firm's $700 million debt, Walter announced Friday night. The firm, according to its investor relations page, focuses on subprime and "other credit-challenged" mortgages.

    Walter Investment Management is restructuring to reduce its $700 million debt, the company announced late Friday. Pictured is Anthony Renzi. CEO. | [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  2. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients


    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  4. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  5. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]