New Nissan dealership opens
by Clay Neely
Two years after securing its property at I-85 on Bullsboro Drive, Nissan of Newnan opened its doors Saturday and will be holding its grand opening on Saturday.
“We expect up to 500 people,” said Lane Crider, general manager of the new dealership. “We’ll be hosting free food from several food trucks, catering and a 1950s ice cream truck serving frozen yogurt from TCBY.”
The opening of the new dealership was not met without challenges. Once the building was finally up, things began to accelerate before slowing down toward the tail end of construction. Because the sales staff was hired under the assumption that the dealership would be open on May 1, the employees all left their previous jobs to begin work.
When the opening was delayed, Crider put them all on a payment plan and began training for five days a week.
“We were training in here with no air conditioning, wearing shorts and no furniture. So we asked our staff to bring in something comfortable to sit in. Because of the ongoing construction, we would hold a meeting in one room and then move to another when the construction crew needed to finish up,” Crider said. “The bottom line was that because we were flexible, we had a lot of fun.”
Crider cites a number of factors that separate the dealership from its competitors and explained that a good majority of the time spent on training was on examining the business practices of Walt Disney and Chic-fil-A.
“These are places that you feel comfortable in,” Crider explained. “There is a very special feeling when you enter an establishment like that – it’s a welcoming, comfortable place that is rarely found in car dealerships.”
“People dread the experience of buying a car and we want to change that,” Crider said. “It’s not just a car you’re buying – it’s a lifestyle choice.”
The fingerprint of Crider’s vision is spread across the entire dealership. From an Internet cafe that faces the working bay to a small movie theater stocked with faux-leather reclinable chairs and surround sound – no expense has been spared to create a relaxing atmosphere for the customer.
While Crider is proud of the numerous charms that the new dealership provides, his attempt to bring a more “green” aspect to the table is a new practice.
“Most conventional car dealerships are notorious for paperwork,” Crider said. “We aimed to make everything as electronic as possible to cut down on our environmental footprint. Our use of LED lights in the parking lot provide not only a more energy efficient light source, but it’s a very clean glow that is unique.”
With the grand opening approaching, the energy around the dealership is humming and Crider is enthusiastic but pragmatic about the special day – again, citing Walt Disney as an influential factor in handling the stress.
“Of course we’re all very excited but you always have to expect the unexpected,” Crider said. “When Disneyland opened their doors for the first time in 1955, Walt Disney was faced with a few hurdles. Because of his attitude, he overcame the temporary minutia and focused on the grand vision, and that’s how we have approached it.”
Crider has been working in car sales since he was 18 and expresses his love for the unique qualities that Newnan possesses.
“It’s such a great town,” Crider said. “As a native of East Cobb, it reminds me of how my hometown was when I was growing up. It’s a special place and we’re very excited to be a part of it.”