A large renovation project has come to an end at a Leavenworth auto dealership.
Zeck Ford recently completed a $9 million improvement project for a business that has $30 million of inventory in its 1,000 new and used vehicles.
“(Contractors) did an awesome job on this,” said Derek Zeck, owner of the business.
The five-year renovation project consisted of five phases.
The first phase was an expansion of the service bays, followed by an expansion of the reconditioning center.
Phase three was the construction of a new office building, followed by a reconfiguration of the primary store. The final phase was repaving the parking lot and improving the overhead lighting.
Zeck said his business is Ford’s No. 1 buyer of Ford used vehicles in the nation. He said the business sells an average of 450 vehicles each month, 85% of which are used vehicles and 15% new vehicles.
Zeck Ford used to be Rusty Eck Ford many years ago. Danny Zeck, Derek’s father, was the general manager of that business before purchasing the store in 2001.
Derek and his brother, Dustin, took over in 2009. Derek became the sole owner several years ago.
Derek Zeck said during the financial crisis about 10 years ago, the business adopted a new philosophy.
“We decided not to do it the typical car business way,” he said.
He said each of the 220 employees are devoted to the notion of putting customers “in the best possible car at the best possible price.”
That’s why, he said, sales personnel at the business are non-commissioned employees.
“We tell customers up front that the sales staff is not commissioned,” he said. “We want people to be comfortable. We want to help people with the second biggest purchase of the life, behind buying a house.”
He said that business approach has led to a “huge” number of people coming back for repeat business.
“Treating people right, putting them in a great vehicle, the word gets out,” he said. “We have a huge number of families that keep coming back to shop with us.”