CLAREMONT — A landmark car dealership located on River Road in Claremont has a new owner and a new name.
Patrons visiting Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Claremont, also referred to as Lambert Auto Sales, will no longer see the Lambert name high above its front doors after local businessman and owner of Ford of Claremont Christian Gomes purchased the business from longtime owner John Lambert without any interruption in sales and service on July 17.
In an interview with the Eagle Times, Gomes and Lambert confirmed that the deal, for an unspecified amount of money, was discussed between them weeks leading up to that mid-July date. For Lambert, the decision to hand over “his child” to Christian was made easier knowing the fellow dealership owner and how he operates Ford of Claremont.
“I wasn’t willing to just hand over my child to anyone without trust of the person who I was handing it over to,” Lambert said, “And I was impressed by [Gomes’s] commitment to his customers and staff.”
For Lambert, the move marks an end to nearly half a century working at the business that his father, Paul Lambert, started in May of 1968.
Gomes, who also got introduced to the automotive industry by his father, Robert Gomes, through his numerous businesses based in Long Island, New York, is excited about the acquisition and what it will mean to carry on the legacy of a well-known local business.
“It feels good because I know I am going to keep the path that John was on,” Gomes said. “We are going to grow the business but we are going to keep it Mom and Pop, so the style, the sales, the way business is done — it’s going to be like just the name of the business has changed.”
Gomes and Lambert also said that the transaction has been well received by members of the community.
Built atop the ground once owned by the Boston & Maine Corporation, the story of the company’s history in the city is interwoven with tales of war and love of family and community. Lambert joined his father in 1972 after going to college for FAA aircraft mechanic training and entering the service. With thoughts of going to Alaska to do work as a small engine repairman, Paul asked his son to help him out “for a little while.”
Lambert eventually took ownership in 1982 operating as dealer principal.
Today, the native Claremonter is happy that he chose to stay and help create a business some 52 years later is still standing and prospering.
“We did it right from the beginning without trying to get surveys or anything like that. We just focused on our customer base.”
Gomes said that he is looking to build a new standalone facility next to Ford of Claremont for the new business, which will be called Claremont Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.
Lambert Auto’s 23 employees will all stay on and Lambert will continue to work with Gomes through the transition process.
“I will help in whatever capacity I am needed.”
Also, through the transaction, Gomes inherited $4 million in Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram parts, the largest such inventory in New England.