GARDENDALE — It took only three hours and a crew of 20 people to drive 250 cars from Warrior to Gardendale on Saturday.
The cars were the current inventory at Dewey Barber Chevrolet, which opened for business at its new location in Gardendale on Monday.
To celebrate the grand opening, the dealership will host a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is invited.
The dealership closed up shop in Warrior after receiving incentives from Gardendale to relocate.
In addition, General Motors was going to require Dewey Barber Chevrolet to do drastic upgrades to its Warrior site, which were not cost-effective for the business.
Scott Barber said it has been a 2½-year process to buy the land and get the dealership built and open.
He said he is thrilled that the business moved to Gardendale, in part because the Barber family lives, worships and has other business holdings in the city.
“Everything we do is community oriented,” Barber said, adding that the business hired a local construction company, contractors, landscapers and other local businesses whenever possible.
In addition, he said, the dealership is now closer to its customers.
“Sixty to 70 percent of our business is repeat and referral business,” he said. “This is a good fit for us. We encourage local folks to come out and see (the new facility).”
Dewey Barber Chevrolet had no say in the design of the new building; Barber said all new dealerships are getting the same design. However, he said Dewey Barber added some “extras” that were not required, such as landscaping and additional outdoor lighting.
“If people come to look at cars at night, they will have plenty of lighting,” Barber said, adding that the former property had dark spots in some areas of the parking lot.
He said many of the 45 employees also gave input about certain design features in their work spaces.
Dewey Barber Chevrolet purchased 47 acres from Jefferson County last year at the intersection of Interstate 65 and what was then called Mary Buckelew Boulevard. The Jefferson County Commission recently renamed the road Barber Boulevard following Buckelew’s conviction for perjury in the Jefferson County sewer scandal.
The business takes up 17 acres, leaving 30 for future development. Dewey Barber, in a talk to the Gardendale Area Rotary Club this spring, said he hopes to see other businesses open at the property in the future.
As incentives to bring Dewey Barber Chevrolet to Gardendale, the Gardendale City Council agreed for the city to spend up to $500,000 to build roads and do other infrastructure work at the site.
In addition, the dealership and the city will split sales taxes. Each will get 50 percent of the 3-percent municipal tax, and 50 percent of the 0.75-percent tax on vehicle sales. That deal is in effect until the business earns $380,000 in tax abatements or in seven years; whichever comes first.
At 30,000 square feet, the new facility is 10,000 square feet larger than the Warrior building.
The business’ new address is 90 Barber Boulevard, off of Interstate 65 exit 275. The phone number is the same: (205) 647-0538.