GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Christmas has come three weeks early for the Allen family. The new $15 million dealership is open for business.
Customers find a relaxing and open air setting when they walk inside. Building this facility was not an easy task, according to sales manager Jonathan Allen.
"It was a risk, but this is something we've been planning on for the last decade," Allen said. "The storm set us back for a little while along with the recession, but at the same time, it wasn't going to stop us."
Inside the service department, you hear the sounds of progress. More than 30 service bays, all protected from the elements with heating and cooling. Brand new tool chests greet every technician. Two dozen air lifts make servicing a vehicle easy.
All this modern technology leads to one thing. Steve Sanasac is the service foreman. "It's terrific for the morale of the employees," Sanasac said. "Guys are excited, everyone enjoys coming to work. You know, we never had anything like this to work in. It's just fantastic."
With all the new amenities at Allen Toyota, such as a big screen TV, and computer labs, not to mention all the free coffee you can drink, it really contributes to what's being called the wow factor.
Robin Simmons has worked at Allen Toyota for more than 12 years. She knows a happy face when she sees one. "The wow is when they come in here, so far just from yesterday, everybody, their jaws drop, they're just amazed at how big and just how beautiful it is."
And Allen said big and beautiful is good for the bottom line. "We sold six cars in our first day, so I can't complain at all."
Although the dealership is now open for business, the Allen's plan on holding a week long grand opening celebration next March.