You may have seen some unusual activity at the corner of Jefferson Davis Highway and West Hundred Road lately. Fencing now cordons off a large piece of the parking lot at Heritage Chevrolet. The Heritage Chevrolet dealership, which has been a Chester landmark for over 30 years is adding space and performing a facelift on the aging building. Village News interviewed Jay Burchell, the president and executive manager of Heritage about the project.
Village News: How many square feet are you adding?
Jay Burchell: Roughly 2800 square feet.
VN: Will the addition be a showroom only or will you be adding area for other uses.
JB: This renovation/addition includes extra showroom space (2-3 cars), additional sales office space, administration and office storage space and a conference room/break room. The renovation also includes new floor, ceiling and walls and some redesign in the current sales showroom, parts pro shop and customer lounge, service/customer care lounge and greeting area.
The exterior of the whole building will be updated with emphasis on the front showroom area north and south entrances as well as the service greeting area outside.
VN: In general how much will it cost?
JB: Close to $1 million
VN: Why is Heritage adding the space?
JB: To update and modernize the building to become more customer friendly, provide better services and parking.
VN: Will your current showroom stay pretty much the same or will it become something else?
JB: It will have a much different appearance than what you see now. A larger footprint will accommodate more show cars that will be visible in the front windows where there are now office spaces. It will also include more customer information and user aids to assist in the car purchase process.
VN: How may vehicles will the new space hold?
JB: Currently the showroom holds two to three cars. The new space will handle four to five depending on vehicle size.
VN: Will the new car parking area on the north side of the building be added somewhere else?
JB: The current show car area will be used but customer parking will continue to be used there, as well as additional parking on the north and south sides.
VN: You have fought to keep the dealership in Chester, can you tell us about it?
JB: During this most recent economic downturn GM and Chevrolet specifically went through a transition two years ago. It required some very tough decisions by GM to change their dealer network in communities all over the country. Richmond and Chester were no different and we did see major changes with three local dealerships as well as those of some other brands. There were discussions with Chevrolet that gave consideration to move to a new location. Mr. Myers [H. Carter Myers III, Chief Executive Officer of Carter Myers Automotive] and I are very committed to the Chester community and the access to our dealership by the larger regional market area that Chevrolet wants us to provide service for. It is well handled by our close proximity to Interstate 95, Route 10, Old Number 1 Highway and Route 288. In all of our corporate discussions we provided evidence that our current location was the best to move forward and we committed to working hard to capture the opportunities in the surrounding markets that were affected by their [GM] network changes. Clearly we have a location that is extremely popular and easy to access, and one that would be very difficult to duplicate in the area. With a big thanks to our many great customers – friends of our business – we have performed at or above the Chevrolet guidelines over the years in sales performance, customer care/service and parts and customer satisfaction. We have been the number one Chevrolet sales leader in the central Virginia regional and metro market for a number of years. We really feel that the Chester community and our big city selection, yet small-town care philosophy, are very important and instrumental to our success over the years. This location was the only way we wanted to go, and the facility improvements we are making are a strong sign of our commitment to the surrounding community and investment to our future success.
VN: Would you like to add anything?
JB: The management and associates of Heritage Chevrolet and Truck Town and that of Carter Myers Automotive greatly appreciate the loyalty and confidence that all of our customers and our friends have had in us over the years and look forward to further assisting them and earning the business of their friends and families with all of their automotive needs in the future. We are celebrating our 30th year here as Heritage Chevrolet in Chester and our parent company, Carter Myers Family of Dealerships, are only two years shy of 90 Years in the automotive business in central and Tri-cities Virginia.