Remodeling project nearing completion at auto dealership

REMODELING. York Gary Autoplex in Nashville has undergone extensive renovation, including a new showroom and the new blue Chevrolet tower in the front. The changes were required by General Motors to ensure that dealerships nationwide have a recognizable appearance.

By Jana Copeland
Leader staff
Eighteen months ago, a major endeavor was taking form and plans made for an extreme remodel of York Gary Autoplex in Nashville. A nation-wide standard remodel for all General Motors dealerships was initiated in 2009-2010 by the newest director of the GM company. This standard remodel was designed to make all GM dealerships look similar across the country. It enhances the “branded experience” of recognizable logos and look.
Gary Dan Futrell, owner of York Gary, delayed the remodel for 18 months and then filed for an extension for another 6 months. The reason for the upgrade was because of the new standard requirements. “I’m glad I’m doing this remodel because it will benefit the important part of our business, which are our loyal customers,” Futrell said.
Employees were on board with the remodel, and their input was taken into consideration with respect to different aspects of the the project where it could be incorporated with GM’s ultimate design.
The service department is one area that was included in the upgrade. GM said that the dealers needed to separate the mechanics from the customers. Futrell fought and lost this battle with the GM company, trying to maintain a more visible view of that area.
To gain that visibility, there will be a total of 12 cameras to view all areas throughout the dealership. These cameras will be used to find guests easier when their vehicles are finished being serviced or to better see guests shopping for a vehicle on the lots. “Another battle I fought and lost was keeping the tile that I had upgraded only a few years ago and to pick our own office furniture and layout,” Futrell said. GM standards call for a certain style and color of furniture, floor coverings, and ceiling tiles that are non-negotiable.
A new phone system was not a requirement, but Futrell felt it would be beneficial for better communications throughout the dealership.
The office showroom area is being remodeled because the standard says there should be no sales offices on exterior walls, and there is the new requirement for a 3-car showroom. That is why the addition was made to the existing building.
“In addition to the flat screen tv and refreshments which we are currently providing, the plan calls for a media area in the waiting room with wi-fi availability for the guests to have a more relaxing and productive experience,” Futrell said.
There are three companies that build for GM. The towers are different heights because of the different designs of buildings. Gensler is the company that mills the towers. Representatives came in to take still-shots and laser measurements of the building. Each tower takes 10 weeks to mill, and they are milled separately for each dealership and installed by that company.
J. D. L. Construction of Texarkana is the primary construction company for the project. The firm had already remodeled three dealerships and is also a loyal costumer of York Gary. Futrell said that local sub-contractors were used for everything that was possible to get the community involved in the effort.
The timeline of the project started about 18 months ago. Because of company concerns about dealerships looking tired and outdated and wanting to enhance the customer satisfaction with a branded experience being the same wherever a guest entered a GM dealership, a Design Intent Document was agreed upon by Futrell and the Zone Manager and signed listing the changes that were to be made at York Gary Autoplex. Futrell said that 90% of the job is scheduled to be completed by the end of March. The office furniture has been ordered and all that will be left after that will be the final touches.
“The remodel has been stressful and has been disruptive at times for all at the dealership and guests,” Futrell said.
At times, there have been areas and entrances that were blocked off, saw dust, and noise have been distracting to the guests and employees throughout the whole process. Workers are trying to do more of the disruptive jobs after hours and on the weekend. “My employees have done a wonderful job of continuing to take care of our guests, despite the noise and distractions that have come with this project,” Futrell said.
Futrell wants to thank his guests for being patient and working around their remodel and wants to assure the customers that the expectations they have come to know and trust from his dealership will be the same.
“I want the customers to have the best experience possible and with this remodel and upgrades, I feel the customers or ‘guests’ will benefit in a positive way,” Futrell said.

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