A reception was held Tuesday evening at Champion Chevrolet to celebrate its recent renovations. (Lee Talbert/Johnson City Press)
The owners of a Johnson City vehicle dealership officially turned the key on their building’s renovations Tuesday evening, inviting community members to kick the tires on the new digs.
Andy Dietrich, who, along with partner Tim Copenhaver, owns Champion Chevrolet on the Bristol Highway, said the recent improvements to the dealership were part of a coordinated initiative from the car manufacturer to standardize the look of its showrooms across the country.
“It’s part of Chevrolet’s new image plan, which they’ve encouraged all dealers to do,” he said. “They’re trying to get a look that matches with the colors, the tile, the paint — most of the cosmetic things in the building are all new.”
The most prominent feature on the outside of the building is the easily identifiable blue arch, which Dietrich said lets prospective car buyers know what can be found in the showroom.
Much of the interior renovations are focused on customer satisfaction, like the addition of a children’s lounge with video games and toys and a second customer waiting area with a kitchenette, denoting the changing face of dealerships.
“We want everything to be more family friendly,” he said. “It’s not like the old days, when service waiting rooms are jam packed with other people, with shag carpet on the floors. Everything’s more spread out, there are more options of things to go and do and a lot more fun.”
Dietrich wouldn’t put a price tag on the updating project, but said it was “a lot.”
In addition to the tile, doors, arch and aforementioned waiting areas, the dealership’s restrooms are all new and the service area drive through is now more easily accessible.
The dealership was built in 1995 and purchased by Dietrich and Copenhaver seven years ago.
Dietrich said there haven’t been any major renovations since the two took over operations, but said the update initiative from Chevy was aimed at even older locations, some of which were nearing 40 to 50 years old.
“They’re really just getting everybody on the same page in terms of the look and feel,” he said. “We’re getting things unified, so people driving down the street will be able to recognize who we are and what we sell.”
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