The Classic Family of Dealerships, that includes Classic Chevrolet in Sugar Land, has purchased the Sand Dollar Autoplex in Galveston bringing the total number of dealerships owned by the Durant Auto Group to 10.
Classic Galveston will offer multiple brands including Chevrolet, Ford, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Honda, Toyota, Scion and Ford Medium Duty trucks. Howie Bentley, who will be the managing partner of the new Galveston franchise, plans to emulate the successful formula for business that is used by all the Classic family of dealerships.
Don Kerstetter, owner and managing partner of Classic Chevrolet in Sugar Land, expects the honest and straightforward reputation of Classic Chevrolet to be a huge asset from day one. “We do things differently than most dealerships and have a real culture of respect that permeates the entire organization. We have an excellent reputation in the Houston market that we are immensely proud of and it is something we’ve worked very hard at to establish. Howie Bentley is extremely well-suited to instill our culture into every single employee at the new store,” said Kerstetter. “Under Howie’s leadership, we expect Classic Galveston to be very successful in a relatively short period of time.”
A longtime resident of Galveston and Brazoria counties, Bentley joined the Classic organization in 2009 and is personally very active in the Bay Area community. “Giving back to the community is not only important to me individually, but it is truly a hallmark of this entire organization,” says Bentley, “You can expect Classic Galveston to be very supportive of the Galveston community from the get-go.”
Classic Chevrolet in Sugar Land is an excellent example of how doing things right from the very beginning can quickly generate tremendous success. Within 90 days of opening, Classic Chevrolet in Sugar Land was already ranked 15th in the nation for Chevrolet sales. And in just their first full year of business, they were chosen by General Motors as GM’s “Dealer of the Year”, an award that represents the highest honors in the industry and recognizes only 2% of all of the nation’s Chevrolet dealerships.
Classic Chevrolet in North Texas has received this honor for nine years and Stingray Chevrolet in Tampa (also owned by the Durant Auto Group) is also a recipient. The Sugar Land dealership has also received the Service Hero award multiple times recognizing excellence in the service department as well as Chevrolet’s Mark of Excellence award.
“We intend to grow the business in Galveston exactly the way we did it in Sugar Land,” explains Bentley, who currently works at the Sugar Land store and has been instrumental in its success, and who expects to take over the Galveston dealership as early as November 2011. “Our goal in Sugar Land from day one was to bring honesty and integrity back into the car business, and that’s exactly what we will do in Classic Galveston. We don’t play “cat and mouse games” with our customers, we honor what we advertise, and we make the entire transaction completely transparent.”
One of the most unique things about Classic is that the sales people are empowered to handle the entire transaction with the customer from start to finish without the “let me check with my manager” game that many dealerships still practice. “We want to promote a non-confrontational relaxed atmosphere at the new location, just as we have here in Sugar Land,” said Bentley. “Classic Galveston employees will wear jeans in the winter and shorts in the summer, just like we do at all of our dealerships, so that our customers get that “relax and enjoy the difference” feeling. Our focus is to build our repeat and referral business by earning a customer for life and not trying to make a short-term profit from a single transaction.”