The long awaited first new car dealership in Fernley is now up and running.
The construction of the 15,000-square-foot Fernley Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM just off of Interstate 80 corridor at 1395 Newlands Drive was completed late this spring and began operations in the middle of June.
According to Moe Golshani, general manager of Reno Dodge and co-owner of the Fernley dealership with Don Weir, early returns have been positive. The service department, for one, has been extremely busy right out of the gate.
“From all indications things look great,” Golshani said. “The service department is booked out a week in advance by appointment. When we first started, we just got bombarded with people.”
Golshani said the dealership hired around 22-25 people in all departments to get things off the ground.
Although business is ramping up and appears to be going well, Golshani said they want to maintain a cautious approach at least until they reach the six-month mark from its grand opening. It’s still too early to tell if and how much business will continue to grow at Fernley, he said.
“We have no clue right now what we’re going to get,” Golshani said. “I think for the first six months we’re going to put the pedal to the metal and we’ll get a really good gauge from there. It’s really hard to tell until after the first six months.
“If the last two weeks of June are any indication, it looks great.”
Operations are still handled at the Reno Dodge office, at least for the time being, until they get a better gauge on business. He said they are also open to hire more staff or transfer employees from Reno depending how well business progresses in Fernley.
“We have some really good employees who already transferred out there,” Golshani said.
Golshani indicated, much like business at Reno Dodge, the Fernley dealership should benefit from what was learned duing the recession and not get too big too fast.
“I think they shut down 800 dealerships in Chrysler alone during the recession,” Golshani said. “Right now with everything going good there’s no complaints, and trending upward. But you have to protect yourself financially and structurally as well.”
The project was the brain child of Weir, owner of Reno Dodge, who had long sought to build a dealership to serve rural residents east of Reno-Sparks all the way out to Elko.
Chrysler, the parent company of Reno Dodge, had initially wanted a new car dealership in Fallon, but Golshani and Weir, supported by economic development data compiled by experts at the University of Nevada, Reno, argued that a new facility would be better served in Fernley. The town with its close proximity to the interstate was projected to grow exponentially compared to Fallon.
Chrysler still took a hardline stance on Fallon, until one of its representatives came out to scout land in Fernley for himself.
“After about a year when they said no (to Fernley), he came to visit me. What he didn’t tell me was he really came up to look at Fernley,” Weir said in a Feb. 1 article in NNBW on the dealership construction. “He had all the numbers we had supplied to (Chrysler’s headquarters in Detroit) and went out to look around the area. He came back to my office and said, ‘You were right; Fernley is where we should put a dealership! I’m going back there to fight for it.’”
Even after Chrysler officials finally agreed Fernley was a better option, there were still ongoing negotiations on where to build the new dealership.
“I had to go on four different negotiations on four different sites,” Weir said in the earlier article. “I’d get right in the middle of negotiations and they’d back out.”
Once they settled on the Newlands Drive site, construction began on Fernley Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM early this year and met its goal of opening by summertime.
Weir indicated the coast of the project was around $5 million with Dennis Banks Construction serving as the general contractor.
For Golshani, this is his first foray as a part of owner of a dealership. He feels he owes a debt of gratitude to Weir, who has served as his mentor in the industry ever since Golshani moved to Reno several years ago to work at Reno Dodge.
“I know I’ve probably said it a thousand times, but I can’t thank him enough for this opportunity,” Golshani said.