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October 2, 2012

 

Car dealer expanding

BuildPhoto by Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Workers from Drumm Construction of Tully work on the new service entrance Monday at Jack McNerney Chevrolet on Route 281 in Tully.

By SARAH BULLOCK
Staff Reporter
sbullock@cortlandstandardnews.net

TULLY — Jack McNerney Chevrolet is in the midst of an estimated $1 million expansion at its sales center on Route 281, said Mike McNerney, the dealer and owner.
“It’s a substantial investment in the community of Tully,” McNerney said.
The project will move the dealership’s current service center from 414 State St. in Tully, the original location of the business, to a new 15,000-square-foot space at the back of the sales center.
The dealership, a family owned business, is about halfway through the six-month construction phase and has set Jan. 1 as a tentative completion date.
The steel skeleton of the addition has been erected, while a south-facing wall has been sided and a 16-foot overhead garage door is in place.
The expanded service center will feature a quick service lane for customers to receive simple maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations, without an appointment and a two-lane service drive that will allow customers to drive their car directly into the service garage, which is attached to the main building, keeping customers from having to exit their vehicles outside during the winter months, McNerney said.
It will also contain 14 bays, new lifts, two 16-foot overhead doors to accommodate commercial vehicles, and a new front-end alignment machine.
The space will house the dealership’s parts department, a new customer lounge, and a display area for car accessories.
The dealership’s body shop and detail shop are also located at the State Street building that currently houses the service center. The company is looking to expand the body shop after the service center moves over to the new space at the Route 281 location.
“We may need to hire people over in the body shop,” McNerney said.
Additional hires are also planned for the service center.
At least three more positions will be available in the beginning, McNerney said. Hopefully the dealership will expand and need more help, he said.
The company employs 31 people. There are 11 positions in the sales department, six in the body shop and the other 14 are in the service department.
The dealership will also expand its service center hours to include a Saturday shift.
The expansion’s construction phase might only take six months, but it was years in the planning.
The dealership moved to its Route 281 location seven years ago. Even then, the company was planning to move the service center to the site at some point in the future, McNerney said. At the time, McNerney was buying the company from his father, Jack McNerney, and the cost of moving the service center as well was too expensive. But the dealership did lay gas lines and fire proofed walls in preparation for the expansion.
The company bought the property on Route 281 about 20 years ago.
“We’re a conservative country dealer that’s done some things kind of slower,” McNerney said.
Jack McNerney started the business in March of 1970 at the 414 State St. location.
One advantage of the expansion is that it will allow people who bring their cars in for maintenance or repair the opportunity to check out new models on the lot.
“The other building is a mile and a half away,” Mark McNerney, the general sales manager, said of the State Street location. By moving the service center to the Route 281 site, a person will be able to shop while they wait for their car, he said.
“To have everyone under one roof is exciting,” Mark McNerney said. His brother, Mike McNerney, noted the separation of the company’s work force was bad for morale and it made responding to problems more difficult.
The expansion is also an opportunity to reinvest in the community, Mike McNerney said. The company had opportunities to move, but the McNerney’s felt that Tully was the business’s home.

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