Remodel project underway at Stillwater Motors–again

This drawing shows how the Stillwater Motor Co. front entrance will be changed this summer as part of a General Motors effort to have a consistent look at its dealerships. Stillwater Motors owner DJ Raduenz said this latest project should be finished in the fall. (Artist rendering courtesy of Stillwater Motor Co.)

This drawing shows how the Stillwater Motor Co. front entrance will be changed this summer as part of a General Motors effort to have a consistent look at its dealerships. Stillwater Motors owner DJ Raduenz said this latest project should be finished in the fall. (Artist rendering courtesy of Stillwater Motor Co.)

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — For the second time in less than 10 years, Stillwater Motor Co. will remodel its interior and change its front entrance as part of a General Motors national marketing program bringing a consistent look to the carmaker’s dealerships.

Stillwater Motors owner DJ Raduenz and General Manager Michael Kahn both said the latest remodel at the local dealership part is GM’s largest national branding effort.
The good news, according to Raduenz, is this latest project will not take as long as Stillwater Motors’ 18-month-long expansion and remodel in the fall of 2007.

“The new one should be up and rolling and completely finished in October,” he said.

Stillwater Motors has been at its current Stillwater Boulevard location since 1972. The building was remodeled in 1987 and an addition added in 1995 prior to the 2007 project.

Raduenz said the new project is being done as part of GM’s “essential branding element” update. He would not say how much the project would cost Stillwater Motors, but added that GM is helping with some costs.

“This is a national program for General Motors. It’s a shared program with GM,” Raduenz said.

Raduenz and Kahn said the GM EBE program goal is to create a more consistent look at dealerships selling GM vehicles.

“GM is brand specific. They never had a consistent image,” Raduenz said. “Basically, it’s bringing all dealers up to a consistent standard.”

“This is GM’s effort to have a consistent look,” Kahn added.

Raduenz said work has started on interior changes at the dealership. He added that Stillwater Motors already has an indoor vehicle delivery, customer service and children’s play areas and large showroom floor.

“It’s consistency in interior colors and the exterior entrance. We already offer all the amenities,” Raduenz said.

Raduenz said the most visible change will be the front entrance, which will be dropped and have a blue arch with a large Chevrolet logo.

“After the Fourth of July is when we plan to work on our primary entrance,” Raduenz said. “Our flagship (product) is Chevrolet. That’s why the entry element is Chevrolet. We’ll continue to sell Buicks.”

Raduenz said Oak Park Heights officials have looked at and approved the entry and facade changes at the dealership.

“I’ve been through the Planning Commission process and have Oak Park Heights’ blessing on the project,” he said.

Other than directing people to a temporary entrance during front entrance work, the remodeling work will have little effect on dealership operations, Raduenz said.

“Stillwater Motors will be open, we’ll still be operating and still offer the great service they’ve come to expect,” Raduenz said. “It’s going to be effortless through this (remodel) other than the front entrance.”

Even with the remodel underway, Raduenz said Stillwater Motors has seen steadily improving sales in the last several years.

“Car sales have been going very well this year,” he said. “From (20)10, ‘11 and ‘12, each year is getting progressively better,” Raduenz said.

Kahn believes Stillwater Motors’ new look will boost sales once it is completed.
“By doing this, it will help us sell more cars. The timing (of the remodel) is perfect with the new bridge.”

Contact Erik Sandin at erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com

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