NORMAN, Okla. — Marc Heitz Chevrolet is now David Stanley Chevrolet, ending a 12-year run for the operation, a four-year run at the dealership’s current location. The reason: “It had to do with incentive monies and being eligible for rewards within the company,” Heitz told The Norman Transcript.
The company Heitz referred to was General Motors, which required that the dealer change the façade and interior of his store to comply with its facilities standards. Not conforming meant the dealer could not collect quarterly funds related to the company’s Essential Brand Elements program, an initiative kicked GM kicked off in 2010 to get dealers to remodel their dealerships in three years.
Heitz, who completed a $20 million renovation project four years ago to make his store look like a Bass Pro Shops outlet — complete with a working windmill that generated a good part of the dealership’s electricity, a 35-foot waterfall that flows into a 5,000-gallon fish tank stocked with bass, an amphitheater and a children’s playground — refused. He sold the dealership on Dec. 19.
“Marc Heitz Chevrolet in Norman Oklahoma was a magical place, a one-of-a-kind experience,” Jim Ziegler writes in his January column for F&I and Showroom magazine (the full version will be posted online next month). “I was privileged to have been able to see it and work with their sales team and managers in March 2011. Even then, the writing was already on the wall.”
Ziegler also notes in his article that Heitz built his 70,000-square-foot facility, which sits on 14 acres, during the height of the Great Recession in 2008. And the dealer, who began selling cars at 19 years old and was named the 2011 Oklahoma Auto Dealer of the Year by the state dealer association, allowed his store’s amphitheater and adjacent picnic area to be used for community events and fundraisers.
Heitz bought Larry Spencer Chevrolet on Main Street in Normal 12 years ago. He moved the store to its current location four years ago. The dealership is now in the hands of Rob Stanley, which, until the acquisitions, ran two locations in Oklahoma representing five vehicle lines under his David Stanley Automotive Group.
“The community supported us because we support them,” Heitz told The Norman Transcript. “There’s a formula for success in Norman, and it all revolves around support to the local businesses and the local charities and academics … We hope he continues all of that stuff and that Norman continues to support the brand.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.