By Joe Bachman
“We’re bringing Chevy back to Wisconsin Rapids”
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Wheelers Chevrolet of Wisconsin Rapids celebrated their groundbreaking of a new facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday afternoon.
Wheelers Chevrolet has been operating out of their current location at 2250 W. Grand Ave. since June of 2015, but coming this summer will be a new state-of-the-art facility just a couple hundred feet away. In 2008, Chevrolet left Wisconsin Rapids due to the recession, but demand rose for a Chevrolet dealership to come back to the river cities, which spawned the 2015 return and eventual coming summer facility.
“The new Wheelers Chevrolet will be an expansion of our business to the Wisconsin Rapids market, however we have been operating Chevrolet at the existing facility since June of 2015,” said Owner Mary Jo Wheeler. “Ann Wheeler truly believed in Rapids and its potential for it to be successful and the community to support it.”
Not only will this facility feature a new sales, parts, and and service sections, but it is one of three building projects planned for the west side. A new body shop is slated for a spring finish, and a new Buick GMC to be finished by 2019.
“Wheelers wanted to bring the best facility possible to the market and only by building a new building would this be achieved,” said Wheeler. “Due to the limited land space on the 8th Street side of Rapids and with the acquisition of Hanks Auto on Grand Avenue, Wheelers was able to purchase six acres of land on top of the six they had bought from Ironside. So, the west side on Grand Avenue seemed to be a good fit for them.”
The new facility will also create jobs in the community, additional tax revenue to the county and city, and even stake a claim for women-owned car dealerships in Wisconsin. 2016 saw 458 new car dealerships in Wisconsin, only nine of which are owned by women. Wheelers’ locations (Marshfield, Medford, two in Wisconsin Rapids) makes up four of those nine.
“Both sides of town need to be strong for this community to grow,” said Wheeler. “The internet is such a huge portion of our business that people drive to where the vehicles are. Additionally, there are a large number of people that live and work on the west side of Wisconsin Rapids that need to be served as well.”
You can check out the progress of the coming facility on the corner of 25th Ave. South and W. Grand Ave.