Sweeney debuts facility remodel

By Don Shilling

The Sweeneys celebrated a $2 million renovation of their dealership.

BOARDMAN — Two local car dealers aren’t resting even though they are No. 1 in the country.

Dave and Doug Sweeney cut the ribbon Tuesday on their remodeled Market Street car dealership. They spent $2 million to upgrade Sweeney Buick Pontiac GMC, which already is the top-selling dealership in the nation that offers those three lines.

“We’re hoping people will respond to the new facility,” Dave Sweeney said after a ceremony attended by local business associates and General Motors officials from Detroit.

The brothers went out of their way to thank their employees for the success of the dealership.

“Buildings will never sell a car,” Doug Sweeney said. “Buildings will never service a car. Buildings will never keep a customer happy.”

Dave Sweeney said this seemed like a good time to upgrade the dealership because they just opened a new $5 million Chevrolet dealership across the street. That building opened last March.

“Now we’re done with the renovations, and we’re ready to move on,” he said.

The Buick dealership received a new exterior in 1996, but the Sweeneys wanted to move to a new design template that GM has developed. The previous exterior featured a blue screen above the entrance. The new design is a simple, black-and-gray look.

Inside, the showroom was gutted and the sales force operated out of trailers during renovations. The new showroom is more open with energy-efficient lighting. The old showroom was divided into two areas, one for Pontiac and GMC and the other for Buick.

Also included in the renovations are a new waiting area for service customers and new equipment in the service area.

Jim Kucharski, GMAC regional vice president, said the longevity of the 83-year-old dealership is remarkable.

He noted that the auto industry today has been impacted by large auto groups, dealer consolidations and Internet sales, yet the Sweeney company has survived to third-generation owners.

Jim Bunnell, GM’s general manager for Buick-Pontiac-GMC, congratulated the Sweeneys for their long-running success and for becoming the No. 1 Buick-Pontiac-GMC dealer in the nation last year. The local dealership sold 2,424 new vehicles last year.

Also, Sweeney Chevrolet was the No. 2 Chevrolet dealer in Ohio last year.

The company started when Eugene Hopper, a great-uncle of the Sweeney brothers, obtained a franchise for Nash Automobiles in 1925. He bought a Buick franchise in 1931.

The brothers also remembered their father, Bob, who ran the company for many years and moved operations from Wick Avenue in Youngstown to Boardman in 1986. He died six years ago.


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