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A whole new Nereson's

co-owners Jerome Tappe and Brad Richards have been over-seeing the project since it began in August.1 / 2
The GMC-designed floor plan includes a showroom, a service drive, a quick lube and a modern business bar that offers a place to work on a lap top or watch television.2 / 2

Buying or fixing a vehicle at Nereson's in Detroit Lakes is a whole new experience these days.

That's because the Chevy-Cadillac dealer has revamped and remodeled its building from top to bottom.

"I still have to pinch myself when I come in here in the morning to see how beautiful it has become," said Brad Richards, who co-owns the dealership with Jerome Tappe.

The two have been watching the transformation take place since work began Aug. 1.

The project, which is designed by General Motors, is a nationwide project meant to uniformly brand their facility image, starting with a big, blue, eye-catching arch out front.

"Niety-five percent of the Chevy stores didn't look like Chevy stores," said Tappe, "so their whole intent is for consumers to drive down the road and know by looking at it that that's a Chevy store."

Their goal of brand recognition continues when a customer walks inside as well, where the building is virtually unrecognizable from what it was just last summer.

"It's basically been ripped down to its shell and rebuilt to look like a whole, new store," said Tappe," who says the sleek, new layout is designed with customer service in mind.

Where two, maybe three cars once made up their showroom, now sits four, sparkling under the specialized lights and shiny floor.

With new 11-foot windows surrounding the building, natural light has transformed the 1968 building into a bright, airy facility with a modern flare.

A customer lounge now sits off the entrance with new furniture, a flat screen TV on the wall and a business bar.

"So you can come in here, grab a cup of cappuccino or bottled water that we provide free of charge, plug your laptop in and do some work while you're waiting for your car," said Tappe.

A kid's area sits nestled into the customer lounge with pint-sized tables and stuffed animals.

The facility also now includes a service drive, which has sensors in the concrete. That means when customers arrive, the door automatically opens up to a climate-controlled area where technicians can get right to work on the problem.

The service area has also been re-vamped to include a quick-lube.

"Before we didn't have the ability to do oil changes as quickly as we should have, but now we have a quick lube area so you don't even need an appointment for it," said Tappe, who says they added roughly 2,600 square feet to the building.

Not only did that allow for a separate quick lube area, but also for a back room where all the noisy machinery (heating, air-conditioning, air compressor, etc.) is being housed, making for a quieter building for workers and customers.

They've also got a new alignment rack and hoist in the back for technicians, new retail parts counter and a new vehicle delivery area.

"So if you've purchased a new or used vehicle, it'll be backed in there, all shined up," said Richards, "we're trying to make it very friendly for the customer so they can enjoy the experience."

The Nereson owners say it hasn't always been easy doing business in a building that's under renovation, but it's been worth it.

"It's truly an amazing transformation from what it was," said Tappe, "I think our customers were even more excited about it than we were in a sense because they were just passionate about coming in and were very, very accommodating and understanding about what they had to do and where we had to put them during the construction."

And while Richards and Tappe hired local contractors to do 75-80 percent of the work (guys they say they'll often see in their facility) they weren't the only ones to benefit from the remodel.

"To go through the transition, we had to go through 40 years of accumulated stuff, so the Boys and Girls Club benefited greatly from this -- and they'll probably still be getting more," Richards laughed, adding that the project should be 100 percent complete by January 1, aside from some tarring and outdoor work scheduled for spring.

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