Dan Banister out front of one of his car dealerships

Dan Banister, the African American Car Dealer that is Pathing a Way in the Car Business

Dan Banister, aka “Dan the Man” is a household name too many, in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Banister made his debut years ago with his witty commercials, grabbing consumers’ attention to come “Swap Keys” with him by purchasing a new car. Dan Banister is the principal owner of two Virginia dealerships, Banister Nissan of Chesapeake, and Banister Nissan of Norfolk. He is one of only 15 black-owned Nissan dealerships nationwide, and his stores are consistently among the top-performing Nissan dealerships worldwide.

Dan Banister

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, Banister acquired a Ford dealership located at 5000 Auth Rd. Marlow Heights, Maryland. Banister purchased the dealership from Vince Sheehy. This was Sheehy’s first dealership and has been in his family for over 52 years. Banister said. “Vince Sheehy trusted me enough to be able to service and take care of his customers. I am humbled that he chose me to continue the family legacy of serving this community.

Now this will be Dan Banister’s third dealership, the first time as a Ford dealer. He is committed to spending a lot of time in the area, getting to know the people, and investing in the community. Banister said. “They will get to know me very well.”

Ford initially reached out to Dan Banister about the dealership. “I didn’t choose this area. It chose me. Ford contacted me and told me about an opportunity because I’ve been looking at many different opportunities for a while and know every opportunity isn’t the right one.”

“I’m very respectful of the Ford brand. As soon as Banister found out this store was available, he was all over it because he genuinely loves the Marlow Heights area. I think being in such a large community where millions are, compared to where I come from in the Hampton Roads area, which is smaller, is an enormous chance to be able to make a mark here,” said Banister.

This location used to be one of the premier dealerships in the world. Banister plans on bringing it back to its glory days. He believes Marlow Heights with its strong economy provides exceptional growth opportunities for the dealership.

Over the last eight months, during a pandemic, while many businesses across the nation were shutting their doors, Dan Banister worked endlessly to close this deal. It is official, Banister Ford of Marlow Heights.

Eighty employees will remain on the staff under the new ownership. “My goal with any transition and any transactions is to retain everyone that would like to stay. We didn’t fire anybody, we didn’t let anybody go, and we plan to grow and add more positions. As we grow, there will be a need to hire in many departments; we have a need right now for technicians, sales managers, and salespeople. We need to fill these positions because we are going to go after this market very aggressively to serve it. We want to be able to provide the five-star services and bring the old southern charm from Chesapeake and Norfolk, Virginia, to the DC area.” said Banister.

“I feel honored and privileged to have become a Ford dealer. I look forward to being one of the Ford brand’s trusted leaders as we expand our reach in the DMV area. I have been counting down the days to start serving the citizens of Marlow Heights and the surrounding communities. I desire to build relationships, create partnerships and learn how we at Banister Ford can make a positive impact in the community.”

His commitment to the retail automotive industry extends far beyond his car showrooms. Banister is currently on Nissan’s National Dealer Advisory Board. Also, he is president of the Hampton Roads Automobile Dealers Association, overseeing the group’s annual international auto show. And he serves on the board of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association and the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board for the state of Virginia, a position appointed by the governor.

Dan Banister was recently nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award. There were only 40 dealers nationwide nominated out of 18000. This Nomination recognizes dealers that excel in outstanding Service to their communities, Great Customer satisfaction, Sales record, and humanity to name a few. He and his wife, Beverly, have two children. The Banister family is extremely excited about being involved with this new area. There are numerous communities here in Marlow Heights, and we are looking forward to being a part of all these new opportunities.

“We here at Banister Ford of Marlow Heights are in the customer service business and are eager to enhance it by providing 5 Star service to the Marlow Heights and surrounding communities.” Dan Banister.