The Walsh Honda dealership on Eisenhower Parkway in Macon is undergoing a major renovation that includes nearly doubling the size of its service department and creating an updated showroom and larger customer lounge.
“The interior of it is being completely overhauled,” said General Manager David Komaee. “The biggest change is going to be in the service department. The volume that we can take on in the service department is going to double.”
The dealership, owned by the Walsh family for 40 years, had outgrown the building, he said.
“When I started here in 2001 we had about 45 employees and selling about 70-80 cars (a month), and now we have just over 80 employees and selling about 200 cars. It was time to reinvest in the company a little bit,” Komaee said.
While construction is underway, the company is operating its sales, service and parts business out of the former Nissan building next door.
The service drive, which had two lanes, will have four lanes and they will be enclosed, “so on bad weather days, our customers won’t have to stand out in the cold rain,” he said. “The whole shape of our service entrance and our main dealership entrance is going to be changing.”
The dealer has about 14 automotive service racks now, and it expects to almost double that. Also, the customer lounge will be updated and will have more seating.
We’ve been in the same place for 40 years. ... It’s proven to be a good idea to stay where we are.
General Manager David Komaee
Over the years, more customers are coming from Mercedes, Lexus and BMW owners, “and we just kind of want to make it a little more upscale for those customers ... and for our everyday, loyal customers,” he said.
“Obviously, when it was designed for a dealership that sold less than 100 cars a month, there was a lot less customer parking, and that’s always been a issue for us,” he said. “Once they finish everything, the whole front area of 25-30 spots will be nothing but customer parking. So, it’s more of an easier layout for our customers.”
The renovation work, which is being done by Macon-based Sheridan Construction, began July 17 and Komaee said he hopes it will be completed by Dec. 1, “Mother Nature permitting and we don’t have any setbacks.”
The company has about 2 acres in the rear of the site “that’s got nothing but brand new Hondas on it,” he said. “So we will finally, for the first time, be able to put 250 new automobiles on display in the front instead of hidden away in the back.
“I think our customers will be pleased once we’re done and see what all we did for them.”
Even though some other car dealership have left the Eisenhower corridor for the north end of Bibb County in recent years, Komaee said Walsh Honda didn’t consider moving.
“We’ve been in the same place for 40 years. ... It’s proven to be a good idea to stay where we are. It was never a consideration to go over there. ... Our numbers are great. Our customers appreciate us being in the same spot.”