Sweeney Drives Forward in Centennial Year

BOARDMAN – Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC has major plans to make 2020 its most successful year yet, its 100th year in business.  

“In 2020, we have so much to look forward to, starting with our new Buick-GMC facility that broke ground in May. Our construction project should wrap up in March and we plan to open in April,” says Alexa Sweeney Blackann, vice president. “We’ll also celebrate our 100th year in business in the Mahoning Valley.”

To populate the new showroom, Sweeney will introduce several new products throughout the year, including the Buick Encore GX, a Buick model yet to be named, an updated GMC Acadia, two new GMC models and refreshes on popular models. 

Across the street at the Chevrolet store, there is also excitement. “Our customers are going to love the new Trailblazer, Suburban, Tahoe and the 2020 Corvette,” says Bobby Stackhouse, general sales manager.  

In the fall, plans are in the works for a major celebration to mark the family-owned dealership’s centennial.

“We’re just so proud to live, work and serve customers here in the Mahoning Valley all these years. And with so many people to acknowledge and thank, it seems appropriate to do it in the form of a big party,” Blackann says.

Looking toward the future, Sweeney is preparing for GM’s plans for a potential electric fleet lineup by 2025 by developing the next generation of auto technicians as IT professionals. 

“We’re exposing young people to this market shift at every opportunity, and we’re investing in tomorrow’s technicians literally by paying select participants to go to class at a local community college to learn and put their new skills to work for our customers,” Blackann says. “It’s part of a work-study program that also employs them in the service department and pairs them with a mentor.”

Sweeney’s Chevrolet and Buick GMC dealerships were the only local recipients of the GM Mark of Excellence award in 2019, the automaker’s top recognition for dealerships. 

Each of the three franchises was tops in the Mahoning Valley in new-vehicles sales. And with 20% growth year-over-year, the company’s Superlot used-vehicle business was tops in the tri-county region, too.  

Sweeney Buick was No. 1 in Ohio and No. 11 in the nation, while GMC and Chevrolet were each No. 2 in the state. GMC was No. 37 nationally, and for the first time, Sweeney Chevrolet cracked the top 50 Chevrolet dealerships in the country, finishing 44th out of more than 3,000 dealerships.

One technological innovation introduced was iService, which texts videos of service inspections to the customer’s phone so he can see what was found on his vehicle.

Sweeney also showed up big for the community. The dealership was 320 strong at Panerathon, attended more than 30 community events, gave an Equinox to a deserving teacher and raffled off a Terrain to benefit United Way and Youngstown State University. 

Sweeney donated more than $300,000 to charities in 2019 and was recognized as the corporate philanthropist of the year by the Mahoning-Shenango Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.