Grappone Automotive Group plans to build a new Mazda dealership in Concord but could face delays due to the shortage of construction materials.
“Our goal is to have a shovel in the ground next year,” said Amanda Grappone Osmer, the company’s fourth generation owner.
The company is waiting for approval from the city to build the dealership at 134 Manchester St. It has been working with Warrenstreet Architects Inc. and Mazda’s corporate design team to design the stand-alone dealership, which Mazda has been requesting for a couple of years.
“We went back and forth quite a bit trying to figure out the best way to pull it all off,” Osmer said last week.
Grappone Mazda, which opened in 1973, is one of the oldest family-owned Mazda dealerships in the country. While Mazda has moved around to a few different places around the Grappone complex, it has been at its current 530 3-A Bow location inside the Ford dealership since 2006, Osmer said.
The four-acre, Manchester Street lot, which Grappone has owned since 1995, has been used as a storage lot for overflow inventory and the site of the company’s weekly car auctions in recent years. While it is located several miles away from the rest of the Grappone dealerships, Grappone Automotive Group President Larry Haynes said it is a great spot for a new dealership to open.
“It’s one of the best retail automotive sites in Concord,” he said.
Osmer said they considered renovating the 1968 building that currently occupies the lot, but deemed it not worth salvaging due to its older structure and HVAC systems.
Haynes said they expect the new building to be between 18,000 and 20,000 square feet.
Mazda has come a long way and is growing, Osmer said. Last month, the company had its best U.S. sales month ever, selling 42,187 units, Mazda North American Operations reported in a press release.
Growth must continue for the company to afford the new building, Osmer said.
“We have to at least double the number of sales we do every month just to make it make any financial sense,” she said.
The new dealership will target buyers for Mazda’s more upscale vehicles, Haynes said.
“(Mazda) has elevated the brand, and this will put them on equal footing with the new cars,” he said.
Haynes said creating a standalone dealership for Mazda will also give room for Grappone Ford’s operation to continue to grow.
“It’s the best move for both franchises long term,” Haynes said.
A main feature of the building will be a service drive. The building will also be environmentally green, with electric charging systems and possibly a solar array on the roof, Osmer said.
“We will have our own spin on it,” Mazda Team Leader David Stickney said. “They designed it well.”
Osmer will act as the general manager of the Mazda dealership as it gets off the ground, Haynes said.
Osmer said she asks the general public and existing Mazda customers to reach out to her via email, [email protected], if they have any suggestions for the new dealership.
“We are building this for the public,” she said. “I want people to absolutely have the best guest experience, and am open to suggestions.”