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Sterling Chevrolet gets facelift

Dealership expands, updates showroom, customer lounge

STERLING – Sterling Chevrolet now sells and repairs cars in style after undergoing a 5-month renovation.

The renovations, which were done from late November to May 1, are the only changes that have been made to the building since it opened 50 years ago as Bun Austin Chevrolet, except for some occasional painting or new carpeting, owner Jason Hachmeister said.

He said customers’ reactions have been positive.

“All we hear from customers is, ‘Wow,’” he said.

Before the renovation, customers left their vehicles behind the building, walked through the shop, and talked to service personnel without the vehicle being present. Now customers drive up to a new door, which automatically rises when a vehicle’s weight is applied to a pressure sensor. Then, in a temperature-controlled service write-up area, customers can look at a menu of services on a 60-inch TV.

After customers talk to a manager about their needs, it’s just a few steps to get to the relocated, renovated lounge. The bigger lounge has new dark-blue furniture and a 48-inch flat-screen TV.

“The old lobby did make customers feel like we put them in a hole,” Hachmeister said. “It’s like night and day.”

The company now offers free alignment checks on a new Hunter alignment machine.

About 1,000 square feet have been added to the showroom, which has new walls, ceilings and lights. The room also has new cubicles for salesmen who previously had less privacy at their desks when talking with customers.

“For the customer, it gives them a sense of privacy when they’re conducting business,” salesman Carl Shank said. “It makes them feel more at ease, I think.”

The renovations are an expression of gratitude to Sterling and Rock Falls, Hachmeister said.

“When people spend money to expand and renovate their business, it’s because the community’s a great community,” he said. “Now they have a real dealership with drive-up service.”

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