As 2017 draws to a close, Stirling Honda employees the Longview dealership’s gleaming new $3.5 million showroom has capped a banner year in sales.

The dealership’s showroom opened in July following a two-year construction process that hit a few speed bumps along the way.

The dealership first announced in November 2014 plans to renovate and reorient the dealership so that its new 15,000-square foot showroom would face Washington Way instead of the less-trafficked Vandercook Way. The dealership had previously been split between two lots that flank 11th Avenue.

Construction halted shortly after it started when workers with Parker Excavations, subcontractors for Pacific Tech Construction, found discolored soil and a strong odor after digging approximating 3.5 feet down, according to a report from the state Department of Ecology. It appeared to be oil contamination, possibly from a previous auto service center at the site. After cleanup was complete, the dealer also had delays in securing financing. Ownership eventually hired local contractor JH Kelly to finish the job.

So far, the state-of-the-art facility is already paying dividends.

New Honda sales are up 24 percent for the year, said Scott Pirson, general sales manager. And Stirling is looking to finish the year strong with a final sales push during the last week of Happy Honda Days, when car shoppers can get special deals on new and pre-owned vehicles that end on Jan. 2.

“It’s one of the best, if not the best-selling week, of the auto industry,” Pirson said.

Pirson said the dealership has already sold about 500 new Hondas so far this year. He expects to add that total now that the dealership has received a wide selection of 2018 models.

Pirson noted that the Honda CRV is the best-selling model in its class, and the new Honda Civic and Honda Accord have been completely redesigned.

Pirson said the upgraded facility allowed the dealership to significantly expand its inventory.

“We have a huge inventory to select from,” he said.

The dealership’s original owner, Jim Stirling, purchased a Pontiac dealership at the location in 1974. The recent construction job was the biggest project in the dealership’s more than four decades at the location.

The new showroom qualifies for an energy-efficient certification and already features a flatscreen TV and fast wifi for customers. Pirson said the remodel also included paperless technology in the financing department.

Even with the main building finished, the transformation won’t be complete until the dealership’s service building is remodeled sometime next summer.

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