Post and Courier
October 1, 2014

Mount Pleasant Chevrolet completes renovations, redoubles focus on selling cars

Posted: 03/15/2014 12:01 a.m.


By Jim Parker

It took a minute getting the phrasing right to accurately describe Mount Pleasant Chevrolet's business outlook, but Joe Sarro was satisfied.

"All new dealer, all new attitude," he said.

Sarro, a partner and manager, has tried out informal slogans from the time backers bought the franchise at U.S. Highway 17 North and Hungryneck Boulevard last August.

Since then, Mount Pleasant Chevrolet has strived to make a name for itself - a fresh player east of the Cooper that's built up market experience and adhered to customer service.

The dealership has taken action to upgrade its community presence. Owners reconfigured landscaping to improve visibility along Highway 17 and bought another two acres of land to provide extra room for cars and trucks. Vehicle inventory has jumped three fold in the past eight months.

Maybe the biggest change, however, is just taking place. The company last week quietly unveiled a broad, modern showroom; comfortable waiting area; spruced up service and parts departments; and enlarged facilities overall.

"It's new and open. That's us," Sarro said.

In the main building, the reception area sits facing the front door while the glassed-in manager's office replaces a standing counter. Sales cubicles dot the showroom and filter down the hall to the customer service area.

The showroom houses two new models, a red and white Camaro and a white Tahoe, with space for more. A new black-bodied Corvette is parked outside near the entrance.

For service appointments, customers drive their vehicles into a carport, where associates jot down information and get the autos to and from the shop. A elongated one-story building sidelong to the main structure houses the service shop as well as the parts department sporting a Chevy in the showroom.

"Parts (department) is all redone," he said, as is the "all new service department. All state of the art. Everything's customer friendly."

That's not all. The dealership lot stands filled with vehicles typically grouped by brand, whether Silverado trucks, Equinox SUVs, Malibu sedans or Sonic compacts.

Cars wrap around the showroom building and fill in a football field-sized tarmac between the parts-service building and Hungryneck Boulevard.

"There are over 280 cars," he says.

Sarro this week thanked customers for their "patience" in putting up with the renovation work, which took place as the dealership stayed open. He has one objective now. "Make sure everybody is taken care of. That's my goal."

All the while, Mount Pleasant Chevrolet's 58 employees have maintained tip-top job traits, Sarro said.

Among the staff is Austin Schultz, finance manager.

"I'm here to take care of financial needs," Schultz said, adding that he tries to work through any credit troubles for customers.

"I think it still needs to come out, we are here (in East Cooper). But we want to be here for everybody's financing," Schultz said.

James Jeffrey is a veteran sales associate who has long roots east of the Cooper.

He said the job's been proving "fantastic," even while having to work around the renovations. "We weathered the storm," he said.

Now, with the construction completed, "I just want to invite the people of the Mount Pleasant area (to see the finished product)."

Jeffery is hardly new to East Cooper: "My family's been here for 48 years." His father was in the transportation business: Jeffery remembers when Mount Pleasant only had one two-lane bridge to and from Charleston, the Grace Memorial Bridge. His dad helped place pylons for the second bridge, the Silas Pearman Bridge in the mid 1960s, Jeffery said.

Sarro said the dealership's makeover sets a benchmark for the future. "We're finished (rebuilding). Now it's time for one thing; make the customer happy."

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.