PDT Staff Writer
For several years, the new car showroom on Offnere Street in Portsmouth — the former Oberling Motors — has sat empty. Now that showroom will come alive with a stock of new vehicles, when Scioto Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram opens.
The new dealership expects to open Aug. 20.
“We’re gonna sell a whole bunch of new and used cars,” Greg Crawford, the owner, said. “Chrysler had what’s called an open point, an area they felt like was needed to have a new car dealership, and we’re a fairly new dealership. We’ve been in business out here since January of 2008.”
“Here” is Grayson, Ky., where Crawford owns another dealership.
“In that short time we have more than exceeded Chrysler’s expectations to the point where, in 2011, we joined the Pentastar Club with Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, which is an award they give to top performing dealers, and we were one of the 100 top performing dealers in the country,” Crawford said. “That’s based on a number of criteria, but it is percentage of growth and customer satisfaction. If you sell enough vehicles and you keep customers satisfied, you’re eligible for the club if you do everything else.”
Crawford said the Grayson dealership just received a plaque last week for the honor the company received in June. He said the dealership is on track to receive the Pentastar award again in 2012.
“Chrysler contacted us about that particular location (Offnere Street),” Crawford said. “We plan on keeping somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 used cars to be on that lot at all times. And we should have somewhere around 70 to 100 new cars at all times.”
Crawford said he is awaiting a license which, when received, he will be able to open the Portsmouth dealership.
“Right now it’s kind of up to the state (Ohio),” Crawford said. “We have our state license to operate a business. But there’s a separate automobile dealer license that Ohio has, and we have applied, and it looks like everything is working. They originally said they could have that for us is six to eight weeks. The six-week mark will be the middle of next month (August). So our goal is to open the door, right now, tentatively Monday morning Aug. 20.”
He said the scheduled opening date would be delayed if they did not receive the dealer license by that date.
“He has leased everything from Offnere Street to the first alley west of Lincoln Street,” Henry Oberling, Jr. said. “And everything from 12th Street to Robinson Avenue - that whole complex - he has leased. So he has all the buildings. We are refurbishing them for him now.”
Crawford was complimentary of the preparation for the location by Oberling.
“Obviously Oberling’s did a very good job there a very long number of years,” Crawford said. “For their reasons they decided to close the point on their own. It was something they decided to do, so I think it’s going to be a great opportunity, and Mr. (Henry) Oberling (Jr.) in particular has been very helpful in getting the property back in a very respectable condition. We just got the lot resurfaced. They just finished it Saturday. And then we’re remodeling the inside of the building, and he’s got some work that he has done to the outside with new windows and glass.”
Inside the showroom, workers were busy Monday remodeling the inside, following the work done on the lot outside over the weekend.
“It’s been a little bit of a journey, but it has worked out real well, and they have helped us out a lot,” Crawford said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com