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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Retired Greenwood Chevrolet salesman Joe Niccoli remembers how small the dealership used to be, especially the showroom.

“It was maybe –.“ He paused to glance around and study the new 10,000-square-foot showroom. “Maybe a third of this,” he resumed. “You could only get two or three cars at the max and even then you had to double them up and be careful of how you parked them. It’s come a long way.”

Niccoli, who retired last year after 28 years at the dealership, was invited to return for the grand reopening Tuesday morning.

“It’s breathtaking, to be honest. There’s a great atmosphere,” he said. “Everyone involved with putting it together really did a great job.”

With completion of the $3 million remodeling project, the sales area is twice the size and features a customer lounge with TVs, WiFi and a snack bar. But the biggest change, owner Greg Greenwood says, is the spacious showroom floor.

“On the way in to work this morning, it was 7 or 8 degrees and I realized how brilliant it is to be able to put nine or 10 cars on the showroom so you can show the features in cold weather like this,” he said.

While these changes are what customers will recognize immediately, they represent just a fraction the dealership’s four-year renovation that started with expanding the body shop. Included in the project were a drive-thru lane for customers to get estimates on work, relocating the general office to make way for four quick lube lanes. A second level was added to the parts department.

All of the changes were made to improve customer experience and the employees’ morale, Greenwood said.

“Our business starts with employees being highly satisfied and engaged. Because then they can drive the customer engagement and satisfaction, which leads to retention in our business,” he said. “Once you get customers happy, then you can sell additional product and grow your business, hopefully making a return on your investment.”

The commitment to customer satisfaction is a core focus of General Motors, said Steve Notar Donato, manager of the GM Lordstown Assembly plant.

“With General Motors, one of the things we espouse are our core values and who we are,” Notar Donato said, “with many of those revolving around the customer. It’s about making customers for life.”

Last year, Greenwood Chevrolet ranked 66th nationally in sales volume among all Chevy dealers. The remodeled dealership is part of the effort that keeps GM Lordstown going strong, said Robert Morales, president of Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers union.

“This ship floats together so we can do what we need to do to survive. That extends to the dealerships,” he told the well-wishers attending the ribbon cutting. “We can’t do our job if you aren’t doing yours and selling the cars we make. It isn’t an easy job but we appreciate it.”

Over the years, Greenwood has played a leading role in Austintown. On top of work with groups such as United Way and donating a car for Austintown schools’ D.A.R.E anti-drug program, the township government has bought many Chevrolets from Greenwood, said Trustee Jim Davis, including police cars, the fire chief’s Tahoe, trucks for the zoning department and the school district’s maintenance vehicles.

“Austintown is committed to Chevrolet because our community is made up of people who work at the Lordstown plants,” Davis said. “Greg’s commitment of more than $3 million to this facility is our commitment to [him] to continue keeping Chevrolet as part of the Austintown family.”

The showroom reopens to customers Thursday.

Copyright 2015 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – After seven months of construction, Greenwood Chevrolet will hold a grand opening Jan. 19 of its newly renovated dealership. The project added 5,400 square feet to the showroom, four quick lube bays in the garage, space for drive-in repair estimates and an updated body shop.

“When our team started this remodel project we simply wanted to do something that would add value to our customers in terms of service, convenience and our first real indoor showcase for the great Chevrolet products,” owner Greg Greenwood said in a release. Work was completed by Adolph Johnson & Son Co., Mineral Ridge, in mid-November. Renovations were optional, but part of Chevrolet’s global branding. The project cost between $2.5 and $3 million. General Motors offset about half of the cost, Greenwood said in August.

In addition to more space for vehicles, the new showroom has a larger waiting room with a snack and beverage bar, free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV.

The grand reopening is set for 11 a.m. Jan. 19 and will feature members of the American Legion Post 301 raising the flag. Greenwood Chevrolet was ranked 66th among all American Chevy dealers for volume of sales in 2015 and is the area’s only dealership with the Business Elite program, which allows member businesses “first-in-line” service and free loaner trucks while repair are done.

Copyright 2015 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

Copyright © Adolph Johnson & Son Co