Byers Imports is doing a double upgrade of its Whitehall auto dealership.
George Byers Kauffman, Byers Auto Group vice president, said the company is making multi-million dollar improvements at 401 N. Hamilton Road both for its Subaru and Audi stores.
“This is something that’s needed,” he told me Thursday. “Subaru is a good seller, but they’ve been pushed here to the back of the building. It’s overdue that it gets its own dedicated facility.”
What was the 5,000-square-foot Audi building on the 19-acre site is being expanded and converted into a Subaru dealership expected to re-open in early June.
Kauffman believes it will be the largest in the state of Ohio.
“It’s going to have all the things our customers have been asking for,” he said.
Features include a dedicated service drive and amenities like wi-fi and charging stations and quiet rooms for customers who need to work while waiting for their vehicle. The building is being designed with Subaru’s new look, which Kauffman described as “outdoorsy,” fitting the brand’s reputation.
“All the brands these days are working hard to make sure you know the brand,” he said. “You’ll drive by and know this is Subaru. You’ll know it’s Audi when you drive by.”
Kauffman described the new Audi look as “professional” with a lot of silver and black elements.
That luxury brand will be moving into a new-built 15,300-square-foot building. Ground has been broken on the project with a late fall opening anticipated. It was manufacturer-driven as well. Columbus-based Renier Construction is handling both projects.
“Sales-wise I’m hoping for upwards of a 10 percent increase,” Kauffman said. “Demand has been high. With new facilities you get more inventory. If I get more inventory, I know I can sell it no problem.”
With the added space, demand and stock, the dealership expects to add staff, too – 15 to 30 new employees may be hired in the next five years for its sales and service departments. The company is not receiving any incentives from Whitehall related to the expansion, though the city did give Byers five acres of land last year at no cost according to the Franklin County Auditor’s Office. That gave the dealership land to grow into.
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