BRISTOL, Tenn. – New Bristol Chevrolet co-owner Scott Graap loves East Tennessee and leapt at the opportunity to acquire another regional dealership – albeit one located just a few feet from Virginia.
Graap and his staff celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by welcoming Twin City dignitaries and residents for the grand opening of Bristol Chevrolet at the former Bill Gatton Chevrolet location on West State Street.
Graap is also co-owner of Johnson City Nissan and Oak Ridge Nissan in Oak Ridge.
“We have a store in Johnson City about 20 miles from here. We were really blessed there so when this store became available, I told my partner – Steve Harrell II – we should buy it,” Graap said after helping cut the ribbon. “The folks in the Tri-Cities have always been really kind and gracious and this would be a good part of our journey to continue there.
“Of course, Gatton had a really good name. He hands the baton off to us and we just keeping going,” Graap said.
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General Motors rejected another possible buyer for the Bristol store, he said, which helped open the door for this group.
“General Motors had been soliciting my partner for several years to buy a Chevy store so this is the first one that came available where we felt like we would like to buy it. We looked at three or four others, but they weren’t for us. I’ve been in this East Tennessee area since 1994, and I think we’ll be able to continue that success,” he said.
Dealership General Manager Kevin Stanton, a Greeneville native, said the new owners are working hard to earn the community’s business.
“We have three other stores, so we bring our expertise. We are working to get a bigger selection of new and used cars in here – that’s the biggest thing I think we can change,” Stanton said. “Everybody knows there is a (computer) chip crisis right now, so it’s hard to get inventory, but we’re working with GM to try and get extra inventory to try and serve the community.”
Stanton said Chevrolet is among the most popular brands on the market.
“The big trucks and SUV’s are the hottest thing on the market. The Suburbans and Silverado trucks are definitely the cars that everybody wants,” Stanton said. “And they’re bringing all the new electric vehicles, which is exciting.”
Bristol Chevrolet is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The service department is also open six days per week, with Saturday hours from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
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