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 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. Busy start has Florida Hospital Center Ice dreaming big


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Opening day brought 600 doctors, administrators and their families from Florida Hospital. Soon after that, the facility hosted its first junior league game and a collegiate showdown. A few weeks later, 200 kids, ages 4 to 9, participated in national Learn to Play Hockey Day.

    Alex Senushkin and his grandson, Styopa Kulshyn, 3, of Lakeland, skate at the Florida Hospital Center Ice rink in Wesley Chapel.
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]

  2. Qatar Airways seeks to buy a stake in American Airlines


    NEW YORK — State-owned Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight of deals that size.

    In this file photo, a new Qatar Airways Airbus A350 approaches the gate at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight over deals of such size. 
[AP file photo]
  3. Who's best global airline? Qatar Airways takes No. 1 spot but Delta tops U.S. carriers


    The good news? Delta Airlines tops all U.S. airlines in a new Skytrax global airline passenger satisfaction survey of the world's best airlines. The bad news? At No. 32, Delta still ranks behind dozens of Middle East, Asian and some European airlines. For Tampa International Airport and the major airlines that operate …

    Southwest Airlines, the biggest carrier at Tampa International Airport, improved its customer satisfaction rating among global airlines in a recent survey.
[Times file photo]
  4. Vinoy resort will ask St. Petersburg voters to approve new parking garage (with tennis courts on top)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is undergoing a $50 million redevelopment and part of that plan calls for building a new one-story parking garage over eight existing tennis courts.

    The Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club is undergoing a $50 million redevelopment. The Vinoy wants to build a one-story parking garage as part of that project, in place of eight existing tennis courts. The tennis courts would be moved on top of the garage, which would hold 270 parking spots. But the Vinoy needs St. Petersburg voters to approve the project in a November referendum. This is an artists' rendering of the new garage from the street. [Courtesy of Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club]
  5. House committee passes Florida-sponsored flood insurance bill


    The House Financial Services Committee pushed through a Florida-sponsored bill intended to cut flood insurance costs. If passed, the bipartisan bill would help create a marketplace for private flood insurance.

    A House committee passed a Florida-sponsored bill meant to lower flood insurance rates.
[Times file photo]