The new showroom at Betten Baker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, 930 W. Main, is nearing completion and is already in use by certain employees. The new building represents a massive financial investment into Lowell by the Muskegon-based Betten Baker group of dealerships.
“The old facility was built in 1952,” said Betten Baker general manager Greg Chernoby. “It was not a good facility for customers. This was all about customer service. We want to be able to give the customers of Lowell a first class experience, and that's what this facility is going to allow us to do.”
“Lowell is a great community and it is an honor to provide needed services to the residents of Lowell and the surrounding areas,” said Pete Ricards, Betten Baker division director.
The old building was in use for 67 years. In its former location there will be a parking lot and displays of vehicles for sale. The construction process for the new building was rife with delays and setbacks.
“We broke ground on July 5, 2018, and there were lots of unexpected challenges,” Chernoby said. “We were supposed to be in here Jan. 1, so there was a five month delay. Lots of different things happened. For example, the weather in October and November delayed asphalt a lot.”
One of the delays was of their own device when, partway through construction, Chrysler headquarters debuted a new look for dealerships. Betten Baker changed their plans so the Lowell facility would be as up to date as possible.
“We changed the design of the building several times throughout the process, so that added a few delays,” Chernoby said. “Chrysler came out with a new facility design and we were given the option whether to adopt it or not. We had already started, so we didn't have to, but we decided to make the changes. That delayed the outside of the building, it delayed the furniture and every other little thing that went along with the new design and it delayed the showroom a little bit.”
“All of the Betten Baker dealerships feature very modern facilities with customer amenities that are among the industry's best,” Ricards said. “We believe our Lowell area customers deserve that same level of experience. [The new building will allow us to] maintain the high level of service that has been provided while improving the experience through facility enhancements and increasing the capacity to serve greater numbers of customers.”
Chernoby said that, barring any more delays, it will take about two months to finish construction and get back to the regular business of selling Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles.
“It will probably be 60 days until everything is done, but we are able to operate out of the new building,” Chernoby said. “We still have to wait for Consumers Energy to shut off the gas and everything so that we can tear that building down. Once that building comes down we have some soil we've got to remove. Once we remove the soil, then we have to repave the lot and do a bunch of landscaping. We don't have a date yet, but we're thinking 60 days until everything is complete.”
The new showroom at Betten Baker Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, 930 W. Main, is now in use. Construction should be complete within two months.