Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - One of the last family-owned and family-named new car dealerships in Missoula has been sold.

KGVO News has learned that Flanagan’s Mazda has been sold to an out-of-state dealer group, according to owner and manager Shannon Flanagan.

Flanagan Mazda has been Sold to a Utah Auto Group

“We're actually selling our business, Lisa and I are, to the Young Automotive Group from the Utah area, basically Ogden, and we're going to close on that deal on June 26, and hand over our business to them,” began Flanagan. “I have also been offered a job to work community outreach for their organization in Missoula. So I will stay on as an employee with the Young Group working in the Mazda store and if their future plans happen to include any other businesses in Missoula, work with them as well.”

Shannon said his father, Larry Flanagan, established the business in the 1970s.

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Missoulians Remember Larry Flanagan who Founded the Business

“My mom and dad have been in Missoula for a long time in terms of our business,” he said. “I think Dad started on his own in about 1975 or 1976, so our family has been in the car business as business owners for 47 years, and it's been a really great run. There have been a lot of things that have happened in that period of time. He started as a used car dealer and then moved into new cars and used cars and service in 1984 with the Mazda AMC/ Jeep/Renault franchise in Missoula and things have just developed since then.”

Flanagan said the new owners will stay in the present location for the time being but have plans for a new state-of-the-art dealership elsewhere in Missoula.

“The people that are buying my business are going to operate it from the current location at 1776 Stevens in Missoula for at least two years,” he said. “They have purchased some property in Missoula and plan to build one of the new prototypical Mazda retail facilities and run that as soon as they're done building it. We kind of figured that that's going to take between two to three years to accomplish. In the meantime, we'll operate out of this location and I'll be here on a daily basis running community outreach. I can sell cars to friends of mine and past customers, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's pretty exciting.”

It New Mazda Dealership will No Longer be called by the Flanagan Name

Flanagan says the Young Group has not purchased the family business name.

“They're not purchasing the name,” he said. “It's going to be named Young Mazda of Missoula, and they will take over this coming Monday. Just to kind of expand on some things people have asked me a lot, such as ‘Why now?’ Now's a good time to sell a business. The economy is pretty strong and robust, and there are plenty of outfits looking to purchase car dealerships. As a matter of fact, over the last two or three years I've been I've been offered different deals half a dozen times.”

Flanagan says the current sales staff will remain and he himself will be there to guarantee a smooth ownership transition.

The Young Group will take over on Monday, June 26.

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