Down by the Riverside
New location, look
Tim Dawson, Riverside’s general manager, said the project, which will create two roundabouts along the U.S. 41 corridor in Marquette Township, did not create many issues for the location in July. Things changed when the Michigan Department of Transportation contractor on the project needed to change the traffic pattern along the highway.
Dawson and his 40-member sales and service staff work hard to ensure a visit to the new facility, which had a “soft opening” at the end of June and a grand opening on Aug. 5, is seamless from start to finish.
Regular video updates are provided on the company’s Facebook page to help customers find the best way to get to the dealership, Dawson said, and customers who contact Riverside by phone will receive instructions on how to get there based on their points of origin.
“That’s kind of what we have been trying to facilitate,” Dawson said. “Giving them information and navigating people through it, so when they get here they are not frustrated because they couldn’t get in.”
Dawson said the contractor has kept the surrounding businesses updated on the changes in the U.S. 41 construction.
“We have communicated with them well,” Dawson said, “and they have communicated with us. They are kind of telling us what to expect to some degree. So, with that communication you don’t feel as helpless, I guess, because you know there is a timeline.”
He said a visit to the dealership, which is the first in the United States to combine Toyota, Honda and Nissan under one roof, is worth navigating the construction whether a customer’s purpose is to buy a new or used car, have an existing car repaired or take advantage of the new state-of-the-art body shop.
There can be up to 300 cars on the 7-acre lot in the summer months, and up to 240 are expected in the winter, he said. The indoor service bay is expansive, with room for up to 12 vehicles at one time,
“We service all vehicles — it doesn’t matter what it is — and if you are in inclement weather, there is no other place that has this amount of space to pull in and not be in the elements,” Dawson said. “Most other service facilities may have the ability to fit two or three cars inside, but that is all.”
Both the cars and their owners can expect state-of-the-art treatment, Dawson said, with a larger staff to go along with Riverside’s larger facility.
“We are adding to the technicians so we are able to schedule more efficiently. That was one of the biggest things we had in the past — just not enough technicians for the amount of work that needs to be done,” he said. “All the lifts are new. Everything is new.”
Customers can still take advantage of a Riverside shuttle while their cars are being serviced, but can also enjoy a service lounge with amenities such as televisions, fireplaces, charging stations and even a separate playroom for children.
“Our service lounge is state-of-the-art. It’s set up for pretty much anyone,” Dawson said. “People are much more relaxed, much happier to hang out here.”
The location, once the construction is completed, also will be within walking distance from many other retail destinations, he said.
“I think our location, the way that it’s easily accessible — I mean obviously not with the construction,” Dawson said. “But once everything is complete, being in this setting here you are able to do a lot of the shopping. Most people wanted to do their groceries. They wanted to go Kohl’s, they wanted to go to Meijer’s, they wanted to go to Target. Well, they are right here, and once the road construction is done, you are going to be able to walk to Target, walk to Walmart.”
Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.