Paramount Automotive Group officially opened Catawba County's only Porsche, Volvo and Volkswagon dealership with a ribbon cutting on Thursday. The newly constructed 10,305 square-foot facility represents the latest innovations for the three automotive brands as well as the family operating the dealership.
"Family is important to us," said Paramount Automotive Group President and Chief Executive Officer Benny Yount. "We are in a lot of different cities in North Carolina with businesses. We love Hickory. We could live in a lot of different places, but we live here because of the people, and because of the type of government, the city and the other officials we have."
The community, too, is grateful for Paramount Automotive.
"We can count on Benny and his family," said Hickory Mayor Rudy Wright.
"They are with us today. They were with us along time ago, and they will be with us as we come through this economic malaise and as we return to prosperity."
But during an "economic malaise" how does someone open a new luxury car dealership? That's a question Catawba County Chamber of Commerce President Danny Hearn answered.
"You take somebody that is not only a pillar in this community, but is successful; that is respected and as admired and that has employed dozens of people here and hundreds of people all over this state," Hearn said. "He is somebody that has believed in Catawba County when others have written us off.
"Then you look at Benny and what he has given back — not what he has taken," he continued. "You add all this stuff up and then you figure out why he did do it and why he can do it: Because he is good at what he does."
Showrooms for the Porsche, Volvo and Volkswagon brands incorporate a dual-lane service drive to serve all three showrooms' customers, said Paramount Director of Operations Danny Jordan. The building, completed and occupied April 18, was also designed for expansion as business development dictates, he said.
Meanwhile, the showrooms are on the cutting edge of automobile dealerships, particularly on the Volkswagon end of the building. Jordan said the Volkswagon showroom is among the first new concept designs, as it incorporates the automaker's "white frame" brand.
The Porsche showroom, too, offers its own unique feature. Along with the signature silver aluminum facade, it incorporates new solar tracking skylights as a light source, making it energy efficient, too, Jordan said.
In the Volvo showroom, auto buyers will find a warm, neutral backdrop that helps highlight and display the vehicles.
Combined the entire building features curtain wall glass showrooms that create a "jewel box" effect spotlighting the vehicles inside, Jordan added.
Yount said the return of the three brands comes after customers and citizens throughout the region continued to ask for a new presence by their favorite auto makers.
"Our customers stood with us, even when there wasn't a Porsche, Volkswagon or Volvo dealership here," Yount said. "We thank you."
The area's leaders, in return, thank Paramount Automotive Group.
"You have invested a whole lot of dollars and time and talent in this community, and at a time when we need it most," Hearn said. "Thank you for believing in us. We are not going to forget that."