Seated from left, Pete Backus and Jordan Backus. Back row, from left, Jack Backus, Pat Backus, Mike Backus and Paul Backus. Photo by Kim Snyder, Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce.
OGDENSBURG – Mort Backus and Sons Inc. recently was recently honored with the 2017 Business Improvement Award by The Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce.
The award was presented at the chamber’s annual dinner Nov. 3 at the Gran View Restaurant.
Mort Backus and Sons. Inc. was started in 1954 in a one-stall garage behind the family homestead on the 52-acre farm the dealership sits on today on NYS Hwy. 68. Mort and wife Marie were the only employees.
In 1958, the first expansion was a 30- by 60-foot building that is still the front of today’s dealership. From 1968 to 1976, Mort and Marie’s four boys, Jack, Pat, Mike and Paul joined the business upon their completion of college.
Several expansions followed. In 1970, a 40- by 70-foot service shop was added and the business now employed 10 people. In 1978, a 30- by 45-foot body shop was constructed. Another 40- by 70-foot shop was created in 1983 and a roof was constructed enclosing all buildings into one.
In 1986, General Motors awarded the area’s Chevrolet and Buick franchises to Mort Backus and in 1997 Pontiac and Oldsmobile brands were added.
Expansion continued in 1998 when a new 60- by 80-foot body shop including state-of-the-art paint booths and frame straightening equipment was added. At this point, the dealership employed 25 people.
In 2009 a 30- by 60-foot service addition was constructed housing mechanical and alignment equipment.
In 2013 during their 60th year of business, the dealership was upgraded to GM standards. The expansion brought the building to just under 21,000 square feet. Now employing 37 people, grandchildren Nicole, Jordan, Aaron and Pete had joined the firm.
The dealership and its employees have been recognized nationally for dealer excellence by both Chevrolet and Buick. Collectively the current employee’s longevity with the dealership exceeds 500 years of experience.