Business & Economy

Dealer.com says its Vermont presence will grow, despite handful of layoffs

Dealer.com
The Dealer.com headquarters on Pine Street in Burlington. Photo by Alexandre Silberman/VTDigger

Every time there’s a report of job losses at Dealer.com, the Burlington software company that was sold to Cox Automotive in 2016, Chintan Talati finds himself reassuring Vermonters that the company plans to stay where it is.

“The one thing I have continued to reiterate is that we are 100 percent committed to Burlington,” said Talati, Cox public relations director 

Dealer.com was founded in Burlington in 1998 and sold for the first time in 2014 for nearly $1 billion. It was sold again to Cox Automotive, a subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, two years later.

The company is a major employer in Vermont, with about 1,000 workers and a headquarters near downtown Burlington. Local media sporadically report layoffs at the company, most recently Oct. 23 when fewer than a dozen jobs were eliminated, according to Seven Days.

Forty-five jobs were eliminated at Dealer.com in August 2017.

Talaii said the most recent job loss will be followed by some hiring that results in a net increase in employment at Dealer.com’s offices in Burlington.

He said he doesn’t know of any more layoffs planned in the future.

Many of the questions about Dealer’s future in Vermont are prompted by experiences with successful startups like mywebgrocer.com and Green Mountain Coffee, said Tom Torti, the president of the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce. Both were sold to large out-of-state companies.

“Mywebgrocer went through the same kind of constriction,” Torti said. “They were acquired twice by a capital firm, and they try to consolidate services they have in other areas. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the same thing happened with them as well.”

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Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, founded in 1981, became the nationally known Keurig Green Mountain in 2014, and then in 2018, the company acquired the Dr Pepper Snapple Group to become Keurig Dr Pepper in an $18.7 billion deal. The company has been selling buildings and cutting jobs in Waterbury for the last several years, and it’s moving all of its research and design to Plano, Texas, by next spring.

Torti said he was confident Dealer.com – which has invested in STEM programs at Burlington’s Generator makerspace — plans to stick around.

“I have not heard anything that says they’re not committed to Burlington,” he said. “This is mainly a consolidation effort, which is kind of normal and natural in the mergers and acquisitions field.”

In a VTDigger commentary in early 2018, Mike Rother, Dealer.com’s general manager, said the company has invested heavily in local sponsorships, grants, fundraisers, and programs.

“We want everyone to know that Burlington is our home and we are here to stay,” he said.

Social Sentinel, a software company that counts several Dealer.com alumni among its investors, laid off 19 people Oct. 30. Former Dealer.com co-founder and CEO Rick Gibbs became the company’s president last year. 

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Anne Wallace Allen

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