By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Just a few days before Thanksgiving Day, Mullinax Ford opened its doors at its new facility on State Road 44 to the public.
"We had a good holiday weekend," General Sales Manager Darryl Anderson said, "and it has only been better since."
Construction on the building started earlier this year after gaining all the permits from the city. Originally they had planned to move in at the beginning of October, but construction fell slightly behind schedule, mostly because of weather, according to Mr. Anderson.
The building was completed in mid-November and the dealership moved in on Nov. 21 after four hours of shuttling the cars over from their building on U.S. 1.
"We are very excited to be here," Mr. Anderson said. "It's a world class facility with more acreage for the cars, and more convenient for the customers."
In addition to having more room so they can have a greater selection of cars to choose from, the new facility also has its "Mullinax Ford Quick Lane" right out front to ensure customers can have their oil changed and car lubed in record time. "It's one of the things we are known for and now we will be able to service more cars at once with this building," Mr. Anderson said.
"We're enthusiastic about getting started," said Larry Mullinax, co-owner. "We will be able to service more vehicles and sell more cars. It's going to be a huge advancement over what we have now."
The new building is close to the Home Depot and with its prime location just down the road from Interstate 95 the management is expecting the higher visibility to draw in more customers.
Mr. Anderson also said they have a larger warehouse area for parts so they now have a larger inventory. Customers are less likely to have to wait on a part to come in to get their vehicle fixed. The full service garage is separate from the Quick Lane garage, which should decrease customer's wait time when they bring their car in for repairs or maintenance.
Customers can bring their car in to the Quick Lane for an oil change, brakes, batteries and tires with no appointment necessary. With eight lanes designated as Quick Lanes instead of the two lanes at the old building, customers should be on their way again quickly. The main repair shop will be used for more intense repairs and maintenance such as transmissions, engine replacements and air conditioning.
The showroom also is larger, which will allow for more special events and display of new models keeping the main focus on great customer service. Part of that customer service includes no dealer fees and more sales associates and staff to process paperwork faster in keeping with their goal to make the customer's car buying experience as brief and pleasant as possible.
The new facility has the added benefit to the community by an increase in jobs. Mr. Anderson said they are looking for experienced sales people to cover the larger inventory and expected growth.
Mullinax Ford joins several other businesses that have made the move to S.R. 44 in New Smyrna Beach, such as the new Firehouse Subs and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits store that are now open on the opposite side of the street from the Ford dealership.
Another car dealership should be in place on S.R. 44 by the end of 2015, according to city planning documents. Jack Holcomb, owner of the Chevrolet and Chrysler dealerships on U.S. 1 filed paperwork with the city to develop another plot of land near the Mullinax Ford facility. Mr. Holcomb plans to move the Chevrolet dealership to S.R. 44 some time in 2015 if all the necessary approval, planning, permitting and construction are completed on schedule.
Several employees of Chevrolet feel it will be a good move for New Smyrna as well as the dealership. They think the new location will help grow the business and make it more convenient for their customers and they are looking forward to the move.