Valley News – Bottom Line: Big move, renovation for Upper Valley car dealership


Valley News Business Editor

Posted: 07/11/2021 11:38:10 AM

Modified: 11/07/2021 11:39:11

Key Auto of Portsmouth, NH, which owns the new Chevrolet dealership in White River Junction and the Chrysler / Dodge / Jeep / Ram dealership in Lebanon, purchased the old Gateway Motors plant on Sykes Mountain Avenue in White River Junction, where it plans to move the Chrysler dealership from its current home across the river on Route 120.

“We’re taking the four franchises out there,” John Leonardi, president of Key Auto, said last week of the Chrysler brands move to White River Junction. “A brand new showroom, renovating the facility. We’re going to need more operational capacity for after-sales service and to prepare electric vehicles down the line. “

He said the project, which he said will cost $ 4 million and for which Key Auto is in the process of obtaining permits, would begin in January with completion expected later in the year.

Gateway Motors was owned by the brothers and David and Allen Hall, whose family was a long-time car dealer before retiring and transferring the Ford franchise to St. J. Auto two years ago.

While the Halls ceded the franchise and its rights to sell Ford, they retained ownership of Sykes Mountain Avenue until recently, when they sold it to Key Auto.

Leonardi declined to say how much Key paid for the property, although it was recently listed at $ 5.85 million by Lang McLaughry Commercial Real Estate, down from his original request for $ 6.5 million. .

He estimated that the old Gateway Motors batch will be able to accommodate 300 new vehicles with used vehicle storage and sales managed from the Key Chevrolet batch further afield.

“Everyone has moved to this area to operate,” Leonardi said of the concentration of dealerships in recent years along Sykes Mountain Avenue. “We want to be there too. “

As to what will happen to the Chrysler dealership on Route 120, Leonardi would only say that Key Auto was weighing “a few things” for the site and leasing it “hopefully to someone in the area.”

Goodbye SoRo’s 5 Olde Tavern and Grille

The 5 Olde Tavern and Grille in South Royalton, one of the oldest restaurants in the Upper Valley, turned off its grill jets for the last time.

Owner David (Spike) McDerment announced on Facebook with a “heavy heart” that he had closed his restaurant, known for its neighborhood friendliness and moderately priced, upscale comfort food that has drawn residents and students from across. Vermont Law School.

He did not cite a reason for the shutdown, although McDerment mentioned last year the Valley News that the results of the pandemic imposed on the company.

McDerment, a Hartford High School graduate, started working at 5 Olde Tavern in 1981, when it was located at Nugget Alley in the space now occupied by Tuk Tuk Thai Cuisine in Hanover and known at the time as the name of 5 Olde Nugget Alley. The South Royalton location opened in 1984.

Messages left for McDerment were not resent.

Rylee Anne is growing

When it comes to opening a retail store, Hanover is like Upper Valley’s Broadway: test your retail concept in outlier towns first before debuting on South Main Street. . 37 Central Clothiers, The J List, Farmhouse Pottery and Simon Pearce are just a few of the stores in Hanover that started elsewhere.

Add to wishlist Rylee Anne’s Boutique, a trendy womenswear store run by Hartford-born Rylee Preston that opened in the Powerhouse Mall in West Lebanon in 2019. Preston opened on October 8 its second Rylee Anne’s store in the Hanover space formerly occupied by international DVDs and displays (renamed rpmNH and now located in the Nugget Arcade building) under Starbucks on Lebanon Street.

“I saw the location open when I was around for dinner and just thought it was a prime location for foot traffic,” Preston said of the building on the corner of South Main Street. and Lebanon owned by Kurt Schleicher, who bought from his business partner Jay Campion in 2019.

Preston said the clothing lines for his second store will be selected with the aim of appealing to the “college crowd” and will include brands such as the Western-style hats from Charlie One Horse and Stetson.

Opening a retail clothing store is quite difficult with much of the business online, but Preston had the additional headwind to open just a few months before the pandemic began in the winter of 2020. She stated that she was new and not established at the time. may in fact have been to his advantage, however.

“Because I wasn’t that big yet, it helped me get by,” Preston said, adding that business had “picked up” in the past few months. “I didn’t have that much at stake.”

Contact John Lippman at [email protected]


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