BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Since opening his namesake store on Waterville-Swanton Road in 2003, Steve Rogers Ford has been known as “The Big Store.”
Now, as Rogers plans to move his dealership to the former Yark dealership facility to the west, it will be a much bigger store, but still small enough to care, Rogers said.
Last week, a new banner was added to the front of 9830 Waterville-Swanton Rd. in Whitehouse to announce the change. With a 20,778-square-foot building, the move will more than double the Ford dealership’s capacity.
“Our current location has been very good to us, but we have outgrown the facility,” Rogers said.
Steve Rogers Ford opened in 2003 in the former Ed Schmidt dealership, an 8,800-square-foot building on eight acres in Waterville Township.
Yark, which operated in the former Don Scott Chevrolet building, moved to Perrysburg in 2020, and Whitehouse economic development representatives were actively marketing the six-acre property.
Rogers is receiving a 15-year village income tax abatement on the property, in exchange for a forthcoming annexation agreement that will bring his current property into the village limits.
“The tax abatement helps us have the deal make sense for us. We are thankful for Whitehouse administrator Jordan Daugherty and Mayor Don Atkinson for working closely with us to keep this development on track,” Rogers said, adding that Whitehouse Village Council also unanimously supported the agreement. “This allows us to grow along with the community. It’s really a win-win for the village and Steve Rogers Ford.”
Since Steve Rogers Ford opened in 2003, the community has grown tremendously, with Waterville becoming a city and Whitehouse on the verge of cityhood as well.
The new space will allow Rogers to expand his service and sales department with eight to 10 more employees.
The service department will grow from eight to 15 bays. For customers, the move will mean more open appointments for service, an indoor drop-off lane to keep out of the weather, and an expanded lounge with café for use while waiting.
The parts department will triple in size, and Rogers plans to add a digital vehicle photo booth to better capture inventory to post online. Other changes include a state-of-the-art vehicle reconditioning center, a new technician locker room and a renovated conference room that will be available for community use.
In addition to the physical changes, Steve Rogers Ford will also have an increased ability to terminate any Ford or Lincoln lease, regardless of where the lease originated. Additionally, with the move, Rogers will receive a special vehicle allocation from Ford Motor.
The target move-in date is Monday, October 4, with a grand opening to follow. Once vacated, Rogers said his old building will be up for lease – but not as a dealership.
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