Spokane Journal of Business

Dave Smith to build new showrooms, buys theater

Kellogg auto dealer enjoys strong sales, plans more hiring

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Dave Smith Motors, of Kellogg, Idaho, says it's breaking ground on a new showroom and service department for its Chrysler vehicle lines this week and will follow that project up soon with a new showroom for its General Motors lines.

The auto dealer also says it recently bought the Arena Theatre, in Kellogg, which closed in July. It says the theater had been offered to the dealership numerous times, but Ken Smith, primary owner of Dave Smith Motors, had turned down the opportunity to buy it because it was the only theater in town, and he didn't want it to close.

Business has been good at Dave Smith Motors, with the company on pace to be the nation's largest Dodge dealer in 2010 and to be the Northwest's largest GM dealer for the 15th year in a row, Ken Smith says. The company says it's looking to hire people in several departments, with sales hires being its top priority. It says it's looking to add 15 salespeople to help cover the larger showroom and increased inventory.

Dave Smith Motors says it will act as its own contractor on its projects, and it has hired John Jance as its construction manager. Jance will be a company employee because the company wanted to have somebody on staff to go over plans with the automakers, Dave Smith Motors says. The construction manager brought his own team, who also will be employees of Dave Smith Motors during the duration of the projects.

The new 4,640-square-foot showroom for Chrysler vehicles will be constructed as an addition to the company's current Chrysler showroom and will take space from an adjacent sales lot, the company says. It's anticipated the new showroom will be completed by Dec. 15.

The new service center, meanwhile, will be behind where the Arena Theatre is currently, and the theater will be razed to provide more display space for used vehicles, the company says.

Dave Smith Motors didn't release an estimated value of construction for either of its projects, and it hasn't released square footages for either the Chrysler service center or the General Motors showroom because, it says, plans for those facilities aren't final yet.

The company says the General Motors showroom will be added onto the Castle building, which is the original Dave Smith Motors showroom.

The D'Zign Group LLC, of Hayden, Idaho, is the architect on the projects. The company says Chrysler Corp. requires a certain look for the showrooms of its new-car dealers, and approval is being sought from General Motors on the specs for the new GM showroom.

Frank Durham, a former Dave Smith Motors employee who runs Albert's Landing, a campground on the Coeur d'Alene River with a historic bar and cabin, and a general store, says Ken Smith has offered him the theater's equipment at no charge. Durham says he plans to set up an old-movie operation at Albert's Landing that will serve pizza and beverages to patrons, but won't charge admission.

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