If there are any doubts that the automobile industry is on the road to recovery, just look at Glenn Toyota Frankfort.
Last Tuesday – the dealership’s 14th anniversary in Frankfort – employees debuted a 12,000 square-foot expansion that includes additional service spaces, a remodeled lobby and a larger customer lounge area.
The expansion, which brings the building’s total square footage to 30,000, allowed the dealership to more than double its inventory and bring on additional sales staff and technicians to accommodate the anticipated new business.
“Over the last three years, Toyota’s definitely had its struggles, with the recalls, the tsunami and the earthquakes,” manager Eric Clark told The State Journal. “I think all in all, our customer loyalty and customer satisfaction is what’s kept us going strong.
“We feel like we do business the right way … and we’re going to just continue to do business well.”
Work on the expansion started last year after employees noticed they were outgrowing the building and regional executives at Toyota saw Glenn Toyota’s sales increasing.
When construction began in October, the sales staff moved into trailers out front, where they worked until construction was completed in mid-January.
The staff was concerned about braving the winter in trailers, but the unusually mild winter worked in their favor.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Clark said with a laugh. “Mother Nature was good to us.”
Since January, designers have been putting the finishing touches on the remodeled offices, customer service lounge and service spaces.
Last Tuesday, everything was finally in its place, and the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the expansion.
“At the beginning, I never thought we’d need this much room,” owner Mike Tewell said. “But we’ve seen our business really getting bigger … it’s all coming together.”
Shortly after the ribbon was cut, regional Toyota executives presented Tewell with the Katana award.
The award, which comes in the form of a Katana, a Japanese sword, is given to dealerships that display strength, quality and integrity and show a strong partnership and commitment to the Toyota franchise.
With the new space came a need for more staff, so the dealership beefed up its sales staff and brought on more service technicians.
Business has been going well. Last month, employees sold 189 cars, making April its second best month in sales ever, Clark said. They typically sell 130 cars a month, he said.
And May could be another great month for the dealership. With the expansion and entering the summer months, which Clark said typically are the busiest, Clark said he’s predicting business will continue to grow.
“Toyota is definitely ready for the production side of it and we’re definitely ready for the sales side,” Clark said.
“If (April) was any indication for what to expect down the road, I think we’ll be in good shape.”