Gresham Ford celebrates the completion of $2 million remodel

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Gresham Fords newly remodeled building features a stainless steel exterior, highlighted by the Ford Motor Companys new Trustmark entry arch design. Wills petitioned Ford to permit the use of local contractors and suppliers for the remodels architectural work and furnishings.

Now that the dust is gone and the scaffolding has been removed, it’s time to celebrate, said Bess Wills, general manager of Gresham Ford.

“We’re are calling it our Extreme Makeover Celebration,” Wills said, laughing. “We’re going to have popcorn, snow cones and hot dogs on certain days the entire month of August, and we’re excited to have the community see our new look.”

Gone is the low-profile painted building, once home to Gresham’s only Chevrolet dealership. The sleek new appearance boasts a stainless steel exterior, with Ford Motor Company’s new trademark “tower” entrance, a vast expanse of glass and futuristic interior. The remodel came with a price tag of nearly $2 million and took close to 18 months to complete. Ford requires its dealerships to remodel once a structural change occurs or, in the case of Gresham Ford, a relocation.

“Ford agreed to let us move in 2012 with the understanding we would bring the dealership up to their current standards,” Wills said. “The bones of this operation made it easier to be upgraded, so we only added minimal square footage to the tank room and the waiting room in the Quick Lane center.

“I think the biggest difference in our setup now is the Quick Lane. This is really like two businesses on the same property. We’ve got the dealership, with sales and service, and a tire and light maintenance store that services all makes and models of cars. That’s what is significantly different since the remodel.”

Ford provided Wills with a comprehensive package for the remodel, detailing everything from a color palette and furnishings to the floor plan for where those furnishings were to be placed. It’s a standard policy, Wills said, designed to provide a uniform appearance among all Ford dealerships and brand recognition with customers. Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Gresham Ford General Manager Bess Wills addressed members of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center shortly before an official ribbon cutting at the dealership Friday, Aug. 8.

But Wills is a strong advocate for supporting local businesses whenever possible. She found a way to marry the auto manufacturer’s stringent requirements with her passion by petitioning the Ford Motor Company to allow her to use products and services from local companies. Of the 62 contractors and businesses involved in the dealership’s remodel, nearly half were from the East County area.

Axis Design Group and Dovetail Construction took the lead on the remodel, with Gresham resident and Axis Design’s owner, Tim Brunner, well versed in the intricacies of working with auto manufacturers.

“Tim specializes in car dealership remodels,” Wills said. “He worked directly with Ford Motor Company and the Trustmark guidelines to create a completely remodeled dealership for Gresham Ford and our customers. They also wanted us to buy all our furniture and fixtures from a company in Michigan. I found local suppliers for those things and petitioned Ford to allow us to substitute those products to keep our dollars local.”

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Among those in attendance at the chambers AM meeting Aug. 8 were members of the Gresham-based Mt. Hood Fords and Mustangs Club, who set two Guinness Book of World records for their parade of Fords and Mustangs in April. Members of the Gresham Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center and city dignitaries joined Wills for an official ribbon cutting Friday, Aug. 8, to kick off Gresham Ford’s month-long Extreme Makeover Celebration. The event also coincided with a formal announcement acknowledging the Gresham-based Mt. Hood Mustangs and Fords car club’s success in breaking two Guinness World Records in April.

“We were proud to be a sponsor of car club’s parade in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Mustang,” Wills said. “Their achievement shows that world class things can come from Gresham. We’re looking forward to being a part of this community when the Mustang turns 100.”

More info:

Who: Gresham Ford, 1999 E. Powell Blvd.

What: Extreme Makeover Celebration continues through the month of August, with free hot dogs, popcorn or snow cones to visitors at various times.

For more information, call the dealership at 503-665-0101.

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