Bennett Toyota of Lebanon has started construction on a 30,000 SF facility that will add another major auto brand to 422 just outside Lebanon.
The dealership, technically located in North Lebanon Township at 2635 W. Cumberland St., is being constructed by Arthur Funk & Sons on a 3.62 acres lot purchased by Bennett Toyota earlier this year. Two additional lots included in the purchase, technically located in Cleona Borough, add another 1.62 acres to the site.
The three lots, located across from Dairy Queen West, were purchased by a Bennett holding company for $400,000 earlier this year from Lily J. Hershey, who had acquired the properties from the estate of Melvin D. Hershey Jr. The site had formerly contained the strip mall home to “Smooth Vape”, as well as the building that at one time housed Stephanie’s Body Talk.
The new Bennett Toyota of Lebanon will be six times larger than the current location on Quentin Road/Route 72. Using the Toyota Image USA II concept, the store will feature a recognizable “entry portal” with the Toyota insignia and Bennett name. The Image USA II program has been in existence since 2006 and Bennett’s location in Allentown already uses the concept.
General Manager Chris A. Zerfass said that when Bennett Toyota purchased Diamond Toyota in 2018, the agreement with Toyota included building one of these Image USA II dealerships. Zerfass referred to the company’s new home on this stretch of 422 as “Lebanon Auto Mile,” with Maguire’s Nissan of Lebanon, Ladd-Hanford Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Ebersole Buick GMC, and Ebersole Honda not too far away.
As part of the build-out, a number of new amenities will be added to Bennet Toyota of Lebanon’s offerings. Zerfass noted that a new Toyota Express Maintenance offering will see vehicle receive routine maintenance in 30 minutes or less. Setup as a drive-through experience, Zerfass said that a service advisor will greet customers and also offer an optional and complimentary car wash at the end of the servicing.
“We’re going to be excited to be moving,” said Zerfass. “The facility we’re in now is less than 5,000 SF.”
The additional square footage will enable Bennett Toyota of Lebanon to bring administrative functions, namely a fully-staffed accounting office, to the dealership. Zerfass expects to nearly double the number of employees from 22 to 40, according to the company’s plan for the new digs.
“And as we grow we’ll add more employees, more jobs,” Zerfass added.
“We’re just really excited to be part of the Lebanon community, Lebanon County and surrounding areas. We’re making the major, major investment in our facilities for our customers, the community, and certainly our employees.”
And with climate control being one of the new amenities at the dealership, including the shop portion, it will be a nice change from the current setup the Bennett team has, where Gatorade and fans have to make up for the lack of AC.
Customers, too, will have access to a cafe area, according to Image USA II specifications.
The two-level facility will feature a showroom, sales offices, cafe, and other typical dealer features on the ground floor, with an accounting office, controller’s office, business development center, and combination break room/conference room on the second floor.
Construction is underway now, with an optimistic timeline of completion in April or May of 2020 followed by a move of operations sometime next summer.
An earlier version of this article misidentified the dance studio formerly on this site. We regret the error. This article has also been updated to include the exact address of the new dealership.