Kent dealership changes name, but not focus

The former Bret Chevrolet dealership

The former Bret Chevrolet dealership

Changes are afoot at the former Bret Chevrolet dealership on Washington Avenue in Kent, but despite a week in which the lot was empty, the business has re-opened its doors and its service bays as an employee-owned dealership with a new name a plan for the future.

After more than 40 years as a GM store, the owners were forced by the economic downturn to return the inventory to GM, but have re-opened under the name Kent Performance Auto Center with the same management, service and parts departments.

“We’re the little guy now,” said Bret Green, one of the four partners of the new dealership, adding “Just because the face changed a little bit doesn’t mean they can’t get the same service.”

As a potent symbol of that change, parked in the showroom at the 30,000-square-foot dealership is not the newest Chevy, but a Ford Mustang.

According to Green, the downturn in the economy meant it was difficult for the dealership to get the loans needed to keep the lot stocked with new Chevrolets and opted to re-open as in independent dealership.

“Our decision was to drop GM – not that we really wanted to,” Green said. “It’s a situation where you have to make a decision.”

Green and fellow managers Dave Holzboog, Doug Greenfield and Kevin Doyle decided to retain the dealership and re-open with as many of the original employees as possible.

“It’s the same smiling faces and good service,” Green said, saying the new shop grew “out of the ashes” of the old. “Between us we’ve got like 100 years in the business.”

Green said the change from a GM store to an independent retailer will lower service costs as well.

“The other part of being an independent shop is that we don’t charge the same door rate,” he said, emphasizing the shop’s ability to service all vehicles, not just GM. “We’re still a full service facility.”

Green also said the body shop, which was leased to Auburn Collision two years ago, is also still open.

Holzboog said despite what people may have heard, financing is available for those looking to buy a new car and said he was looking forward to a new era for the dealership.

“We’re very excited to get up and running and going again,” he said.

Green said the dealership may in the future look to become another franchised dealership but for now encouraged buyers to stimulate the local economy by doing their shopping in Kent.

“As the economy gets better, we start growing with it,” Green said.

Learn more

To reach the new Kent Performance Auto Center, formerly Bret Chevrolet, call 253-854-0100. The dealership is located at 619 Washington Ave. N., Kent.

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