Sweeney Looks to Take 2019 by Storm

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC did more than weather the literal storm that defined 2018, finishing among the top 50 dealerships nationally on each of its General Motors nameplates.

It was a year of challenges for dealership personnel as they turned the page on the November 2017 wind damage that destroyed beyond repair much of its Buick GMC service and parts departments on Market Street in Boardman. The company finalized plans and initiated a major construction project in 2018 that will transform the dealership’s footprint by a projected completion date this November.

“This new building will be a showpiece of the Mahoning Valley and will help launch us into our next 100 years as a family business,” says Alexa Sweeney Blackann, vice president.

But meanwhile, the show had to go on, she says. “Despite the disruption, the company’s performance across the board among new-car, used-car, parts and service departments were momentous.”

Sweeney Buick GMC was the No. 1 Buick GMC store in Ohio in terms of new car sales, while the Chevrolet dealership was No. 2 in the state and 50th nationally among more than 3,000 dealerships. The Buick store ranked No. 25 nationally while GMC was No. 29.

On the used-car side, the dealership sold more used vehicles than any dealership in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

“Our success truly comes from our customers who trust Sweeney and experience first-hand why we’re No. 1 in the Mahoning Valley,” Blackann says.

The massive construction project forced the relocation of $4 million of parts inventory and most of the parts staff, but the department still managed to have its most profitable year in company history.

Two dealership service departments were merged into one, and the combined departments serviced nearly 45,000 customer repair orders, among the most in company history.

In 2019, the service department will launch technology that will enable service writers to get out from behind the counter and use iPads to walk around the car and provide more focus on the customer right at the vehicle.

In new-car sales, Sweeney Chevrolet looks forward to selling a futuristic-looking Blazer and the launch of redesigned Silverado, Tahoe and Suburban models.

“Our lineup has never looked better,” says Bobby Stackhouse, general sales manager.

The nearly 100-year-old dealership once again put its stamp on the Mahoning Valley through generous sponsorships and community service initiatives. It became the first-ever presenting sponsor of the Canfield Fair in 2018 and is among four Centennial sponsors of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

Further, it supported fundraising efforts among several nonprofit organizations, including Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Clubs, Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center, Poland Schools Foundation and countless others.

This year’s challenges involve not only the completion of the construction project, including relocating headquarters personnel and Buick GMC service and parts departments, but also the continued developments associated with the idling of the General Motors plant in Lordstown.

“We’re keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Lordstown and we remain hopeful and supportive for a new product. Yet we also won’t lose sight on what we’re able to control, and that’s serving our customers the best way we know how,” Blackann says. “We have too many great customers and 200 employees for anything to allow us to lose focus.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.