One of the Southeast's largest sellers of vocational trucks has opened the first stand-alone Sterling dealership to be planned and built from the ground up as a Sterling facility in the U.S.
Long-Lewis Huntsville (Alabama) celebrated being in the black after only three months of operation at its grand opening open house yesterday. The dealership is the second for Long-Lewis, which also operates a Sterling dealership in Bessemer, AL, outside Birmingham.
John Merrifield, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sterling Trucks, was on hand for the festivities, which included a free barbecue lunch, entertainment and drawings for prizes. "I've been to a lot of grand openings like this," he said, "but I've never been to one where they introduce people with such long tenures. You take what is a new name to many of you and an old-line dealership like Long-Lewis, and it makes a great marriage."
The dealership is currently open five days a week, says General Manager Johnny Davis, but he expects to go to six days a week within 30 days and add a second shift by the end of the summer.
"We can sell just about every truck we can get right now," he says. "Construction trucks have just taken off," both new and used. And his parts and service business is growing, as well, both from current Sterling owners and owners of older Ford products now serviced by Sterling.
Davis says Sterling approached Long-Lewis about adding a Huntsville store after the Ford dealership in Huntsville decided not to take on the Sterling franchise after Ford sold its heavy truck business to Freightliner. Sterling currently has approximately 200 locations and plans to expand to about 250, according to Merrifield.