TRIADELPHIA - Ginger Fato knew she would probably see an increase in business upon relocating Straub Honda Hyundai to The Highlands from downtown Wheeling.
Though the new location is not the only factor, the dealership has thrived since moving to the hilltop in 2010.
"Our sales are up 57 percent for the first two months of this year compared to last year," said Fato, dealer for the business. In January and February 2010, Straub was still operating at its longtime location at the corner of 16th and Market streets in downtown Wheeling.
Photo by Casey Junkins
Ginger Fato, dealer for Straub Honda Hyundai at The Highlands, shows off a new Honda Pilot, one of the company’s most popular vehicles.
With new, state-of-the-art facilities on a 7-acre site on the south side of Interstate 70 at The Highlands, Fato believes sales have increased because of the more convenient location.
"It is a lot easier to get here, and we have plenty of parking," she said. "We have also been able to tap into the Pennsylvania market.
"Since December, business has been great. There has been an overall upswing in the economy, and there is more excitement and optimism out there."
With things going so well for the dealership and the 65 workers it employs at the hilltop site, Fato said efforts to move the Straub Nissan dealership from Bethlehem to The Highlands are still in the works. She hopes to see ground broken on the site for the Nissan location by summer, while planning to have it open by next year.
"We are very optimistic for 2011," Fato added.
West Virginia Northern Community College is expected to take over the firm's former site at 16th and Market streets in downtown Wheeling.
Hours of operation for the Straub dealership are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
At Doan Ford in Morristown, General Manager Steve Mercer said an increase in sales is always a good sign for the economy.
"It means people are back to work and things are on the upswing," he said.
Mercer said truck sales are strong at Doan, as are sales of smaller SUVs.
Mercer also is looking forward with an optimistic attitude.
"It's going to be a good year," he said. "When car sales are up ... it's good for everyone."
Dave Goff, sales manager at Whiteside Chevrolet in St. Clairsville, said his dealership has had several inquiries into the new hybrids but he doesn't anticipate having any on the lot until April.
"Locally, people are interested," he said. "Folks are also interested in getting good gas mileage now."
Goff said sales have been gradually increasing during the first two months of the new year. "Our January sales were up and February has been a very good month, too," he said.
Whiteside, which offers Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC products, also has an even split in the sales of pre-owned and new vehicles.