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Antrim Way Honda to break ground on expansion

December 08, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The owners of Antrim Way Honda will break ground for a 34,000-square-foot facility along U.S. 11 this month.

Once the ground is broken, Greg Weaver, dealer principal and grandson of founder Warren "Puff" Weaver, said he expects the project to take about 10 months to complete.

In need of a fresh sales angle and having outgrown its current facility, Greg Weaver said Antrim Way Honda turned to the success of other retail ventures and designed a new concept for selling cars and parts.

Drawing inspiration from restaurants, retail stores and hotels, he said the design will feature a cafe, walking track, retail parts shop, pavilion, lobby and service tellers.

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"The new user-friendly design will make customers comfortable," he said. "We want customers to come in, browse, drink some coffee, read the paper and get into a comfortable dialogue with our sales people."

Weaver said the new facility will take the confusion out of visiting the dealership, allowing customers to know exactly where to go and what to do as soon as they walk in the door.

"When you walk into a bank, you know to go to the teller window and when you walk into a hotel you know to go to the desk," he explained. "When you walk into a parts store, most people are confused."

Weaver said once the new dealership is completed, the lobby will feature a hotel-inspired desk in front of a waterfall to draw customers directly toward assistance. Likewise, he said the service department will have teller windows so customers can know immediately where to go for service.

The retail parts store, he said, will not have the typical divided register concept with one register for parts and one for merchandise. Referencing some popular small retail chains, he says, "Think of Bath and Body Works. We will have a similar design with our parts on the perimeter, specials in the center and one register at the front."

One of the overarching concepts that Weaver says has been designed into the facility is comfort. By including a cafe, Weaver said customers can relax with light foods and beverages in a lounge atmosphere. They may even sample some of his own recipes.

"I have a couple recipes that people always ask me to make," he says.

The scheduled date for the groundbreaking ceremony is Dec. 13, but Weaver is confident that even starting in winter, the project can finish on time.

"We have not had a crazy winter in a long time," he said. "Winter will not be a problem."

The new facility will be at 200 S. Antrim Way and Weaver said the entire building process will be visible from U.S. 11.

The dealership was started in 1955.

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