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Norseman Motors finishes big remodel

A big, new arch helps mark the identity of all GM dealers, including Norseman Motors in Detroit Lakes. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam

She may be not much over 40-years-old, but she’s gotten a major facelift.

Norseman Motors of Detroit Lakes has a whole new look these days — a transformation that began last June.

“It’s been a long haul,” smiled General Sales Manager John Sauvageau, who along with his brother, Dan, own the GM dealership that sits prominently along Highway 10 in Detroit Lakes.

The building — both inside and outside — has seen a complete remodel. The move was prompted by General Motors, which is attempting to get all of its dealerships looking alike.

“The idea is that if somebody is driving down the road and they see those big arches, they know right away it’s a GM dealership,” said Sauvageau, who says previously dealerships could design its buildings any which way they wanted.

Now, Norseman Motors reflects the standard, earthy, GM colors of brown, black and white, which are all over the new construction from floor to ceiling.

Contractors knocked out walls and opened up a lot of office space to create a cubicle area, as well as installed an information desk to greet customers walking in.

“Our service and parts departments were in the middle of the showroom on the far wall before,” said Sauvageau, adding that both those departments were moved to separate locations, with the service department getting its own, newly constructed drive up.

“And that’s a really nice feature because customers can just drive right in and our service guys will meet them there and take care of everything,” said Sauvageau, adding that this new addition to the east side of the building was something they have wanted for a while.

“So we figured since we were tearing it all apart anyway, why not do it the way we want?” he said, adding that pretty much every square inch of the building has been somewhat gutted and remodeled, except for the original service bay.

Customers will also benefit from a newly constructed waiting area (previously where the alignment rack was located), which includes a TV, couches and refreshment station.

“There’s free coffee, juice, cocoa and warm things for the winter,” laughed Sauvageau, who also points out a little kids play area with blocks and other “distractions.”

An additional bay was also built for alignment services, as well as a newly constructed receiving area for freight.

A new style of “cage” lighting was installed throughout the building and the ceiling grid and tile were raised significantly, giving the building an airier feel to it.

Sauvageau says it wasn’t necessarily a project they were looking forward to, but since wrapping up the multi-stage, seven-month project in January, he doesn’t think it was all that bad.

“Yeah, now that it’s all over,” he laughed, saying despite all the inconveniences that come with a massive construction project like this, employees seem to be happy with how it turned out, and so is he.

He says there is some adjustments to get used to, as some of the employees have found themselves working out of different locations, but overall, he believes it all turned out well.

“And customers have had a lot of good comments on it,” said Sauvageau. “We’ll take people on little tours and show them around when they come in, so it’s kind of fun.”

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.

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