The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

January 27, 2013

Auto dealerships sprucing up with renovation projects

ENID, Okla. — Our economic uncertainty lingered during the past presidential election.

After we survived the December’s hype of pending apocalyptic doom, Americans held their collective breath through the “fiscal cliff” and debt ceiling debates.

Sequestration is next on the agenda, but a recent story on the automobile industry paints a more positive picture of our economic outlook.

Enid auto dealers appear to be doing well after some tough times, and that is outstanding news.

Most of the major dealers are performing or have completed renovation projects on their buildings. Some of the renovations were requested by their corporate partners with desires to increase nationwide customer appeal and brand awareness.

Jerry Janzen, of Janzen GMC, said his remodeling is almost finished due to some delays in receiving materials. The overhaul includes a new design and new furniture, and the project’s cost tops $800,000.

“We’re waiting on flooring. As soon as we get the floor, we will be 98 percent done,” Janzen said. “The new sign is up.”

At Northcutt Chevrolet Buick Toyota, Leonard Northcutt said his remodeling project essentially is complete.

Northcutt was completing a renovation of his Toyota dealership when the GM project began. Toyota was a little different than GM, but both projects were the same in some areas, he said. The Toyota building was new, so the project was less expensive than the nearly $1 million renovation for GM.

Randy Floyd, general manager of Stevens Ford Lincoln, said the dealership is completing a major renovation of its service area. The change was not required by Ford, he said, but because the service area was busy, and there was a need to service larger vehicles.

Bruce Jackson, owner of Jacksons of Enid, which sells Chrysler vehicles, said the last remodeling project he did was in 2007, required by Chrysler.

Randy Hamm, owner of Stuart Nissan, is putting a roof on the entire dealership and will install a new floor. But, he said, it’s minor compared to what Northcutt did and Janzen is doing.

Kevin Curttright, of Curttright Honda, remodeled his service department in 2010 when the auto business began to crumble. He added a new 15,000-square-foot service department and included a waiting room. The only area the dealership has not remodeled is the new facade and showroom area.

“It’s just a matter of time when we want to start it, but I’m waiting to see if the government gets its act together,” Curttright said.

These upgrades are exciting news. While all the renovations aren’t necessarily necessities, they are a sign things are moving in the right direction.

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