Jeff Sachs’ abrupt closure in 2008 left a void in the local General Motors market, and Dario Gutierrez hopes to change that.
Gutierrez is general manager of Capitol Chevrolet, a General Motors dealership specializing in GM, Chevrolet and Buick vehicles set to open June 1.
He’s also building a veritable auto park with a deal to buy Gates Nissan, which neighbors the soon-to-open Capitol Chevrolet. The deal is in its final stages, and the 10.5 acres of property involved will house separate vehicle brands in three buildings.
Frankfort has “really, really been without” in the absence of a GM dealer here, Gutierrez said during a recent interview in his office. With more than 20,000 drivers whizzing past the future dealership on Versailles Road each day, Frankfort has the demographics to support a GM dealer, he said.
“This town needed one,” said Gutierrez, who has been in the car business since 1989 and moved here with his family from Chicago five months ago. “… There’s a lot of cars in operation where people are having to drive to Lexington or Georgetown or Louisville in some cases to repair their cars under warranty.
“We want to be that place right here so people can keep everything right here in town.”
Gutierrez has sold GM vehicles for the last 11 years, and he spent about a year working with the manufacturer to open a dealership here. When an agreement was finalized and plans were put into motion, Gutierrez wasted no time in putting up the Capitol Chevrolet sign.
Others have said they were opening another GM dealership, but Gutierrez said he wanted to show the public he was serious.
“We wanted to be sure we did not do that same thing,” he said. “We didn’t want to come out with a ‘coming soon’ and everything until we had the license from the state and we had the contract signed through General Motors.
“Those things are done. It’s no longer if – it’s now just a matter of the symmetrics of getting inventory, parts and service tools to do the service business.”
Curious drivers have already stopped and asked when the dealership will open, Gutierrez said. Some are looking for a place to service their vehicles.
Capitol Chevrolet may open its service center before June 1, he says, depending on when parts arrive.
The dealership will carry GM cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles, but it won’t carry Cadillacs at this time. The company has always been known for its full-size trucks, but Gutierrez says GM cars have become safer and more reliable.
He also plans on becoming more involved in the community, sponsoring various events around Frankfort.
“We, as a dealership, want our community to embrace us like we’re going to embrace them, and it has to come hand-in-hand,” he said. “We have to sell cars and fix cars to stay in business, but in doing that, we also are going to be a large part of everything that Frankfort is.
“It’s a unique community.”
Coming to Frankfort from Chicago isn’t without some adjustments – Gutierrez noted the differences in schools and nightlife here –but people want a fair deal here just as much as they want one in the Windy City, he said.
“That’s the same, I think, pretty much anywhere you go,” Gutierrez said.