Stanley Chrysler is relocating its business to the Hutchings Auto Group building, just up the Sterling Highway in the center of Soldotna, increasing accessibility to the public and expanding opportunities for several businesses.
“We’ve been bursting at the seems,” said Kevin Lauver, executive director of dealerships for Stanley Management Group.
The move will add 7,700 square feet to the business’s operation, providing it with room to expand.
“We have a one-car showroom; it’ll have five in there,” Lauver said about the business’s new location. “Every way you slice it, we’ll be better able to serve the customer.”
Driven Auto Body and Budget Car and Truck Rental, both owned by the Stanley Management Group, will move into Stanley Chrysler’s old building, located at the north end of Soldotna off the Sterling Highway.
“We’re definitely thinking we’ll be able to serve the community a lot better with our new location,” said Robert Brown, Driven Auto Body general manager.
Courtney Dowd, Kenai Manager of Budget Car and Truck Rental, said both Driven Auto Body and Budget Car and Truck Rental will offer the communities’ of Soldotna, Kasilof and Sterling greater services under one roof in the new location.
“Soldotna will have a legitimate, name-brand car rental facility, which they don’t have now,” Lauver said.
The three business’s new locations will also generate job openings.
Lauver said the Budget Car and Truck Rental shop will need additional staffing, and Stanley Chrysler will need new technicians and a few salespeople.
Soldotna can also expect its storefront image to improve, Lauver said. Next year, Stanley Chrysler is planning a comprehensive renovation of the building, he said. Certain aspects of the current building are outdated, he said.
“You won’t recognize the building,” he said. “It’s going to have a complete front on it, and it’s going to look like a brand new Chrysler Dealership.”
Hutchings Auto Group will not leave town; it will just jump to the Auto Spa across the street, said David Hutchings, the owner.
Hutchings said his family’s business has shrunk over the years. They used to display 300 new vehicles, but now they are down to 25 to 50, he said.
“So we don’t need a half a mile of roadfront each and 20,000 square foot of mechanical shop,” he said.
In their new building they will have the same amount of space for parts, he said, and they have four detail bays.
Hutchings said they are just downsizing, and he expects business to function at the same pace.
The three other businesses are excited about the move. They all agree: it will improve business.
When Driven Auto Body changed its location in Anchorage, Brown said they increased income by about $13 million.
“It’s such a great location being that first point of contact when you come into Soldotna,” Dowd said. “When the summer of 2013 rolls around, we’re hoping that we’ll get some of that tourism traffic, as well.”
Driven Auto Body and Budget Car and Truck Rental will open Nov. 1 in the new building.
Stanley Chrysler will open Oct. 15 in its new facility.