How Did Smith Haven Auto Group Get Its Start?
March 6, 2018
Smith Haven Dodge was started by my Dad, Don Saslow, in December of 1969. We came from Brooklyn, NY as a family and my father, was a Sales Manager for Ebbets Field Dodge in Brooklyn. The owner at that time was Bill Stein, eventually owner of Rockville Center Dodge, who also happened to be my Godfather. My Dad and Bill Stein became partners in a new venture called Smith Haven Dodge located on the corner of Lake Avenue and Middle Country Road in St. James New York. Bill Stein put up the money for the dealership and as the deal progressed more money was needed which required an additional $15,000. At that time, my father borrowed $7,500 from my Grandmother to keep the dealership going. My Dad was the working dealer and Bill Stein was the silent partner. My dad used to come home from the dealership in the early days saying “I have to get out of here, the pace is too slow” plus Bill wanted my dad back at Rockville Center Dodge, but he chose to remain at Smith Haven. Based upon Chrysler’s commitments and finances, my Dad moved the dealership to a brand new facility a quarter mile east on Middle Country Road in St. James. Eventually, my father paid off Chrysler and Bill Stein and owned the dealership himself outright, and that was a paradigm changer. Due to the control factor, building equity, etc., he then secured other franchises to add to our expanding group. For all of this I’d like to give him his due, his hard work and tireless dedication over the years brought him to his “The American Dream” and allowed my entire family to excel. Besides being a fantastic father to me and my brother, who passed away in 1998 and a great husband to my mom Phyllis, he has passed the torch on an incredible opportunity to try to continue his legacy. Thank you for everything Dad. You are an incredible role model and and even better person!