More than 20 people gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the future site of Vaden Nissan of Hinesville on Friday.
"This is a market that’s always been important because of the military," Vaden Group President Jane Vaden Thacher said before the ceremony. "We value their service so much, and we’re proud to be in their community rather than serving them from Savannah."
The current Hinesville location has been selling in numbers to compete with Vaden’s Savannah stores, she said.
Flemington Mayor Sandra Martin, Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, Liberty County Commissioner Donald Lovette and members of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce attended the event, along with the store’s staff and Vaden executives.
The three elected officials spoke about the positive impact the business has on the community.
"It’s my pleasure that Vaden elected to stay in Flemington, not on that other side of the line," Martin joked, pointing to the city-limits sign.
All kidding aside, each of the elected officials spoke favorably about the dealership’s relocation and expansion.
"It helps us all when we have good business," Thomas said.
The dealership is slated to open at its new location in March, according to Stephen Staton, the store’s general manager. The new facility will be located inside Flemington city limits adjacent to Hinesville at Patriots Way and Oglethorpe Highway on a 2.9-acre tract.
For now, the car dealership is offering its sales and service out of a temporary location at 904 W. Oglethorpe Highway, a spot that has lower visibility than the business would like, Staton said.
"Obviously, we’ll be in a more central part of town," he said. "We’ve seen a need for service and sales down there on that end of Hinesville."
The Vaden Group purchased the Nissan dealerships in June 2009 and moved it to its current location, a building with about 6,000 square feet, Staton said.
When the dealership moves into its new facility, it will have more than 14,500 square feet to house its showroom, customer lounge, parts and office space, according to a news release. It also will have 10 service bays.
Four charging stations for electric cars will be installed, keeping with Nissan’s movement toward greener technology, like its upcoming release of the all-electric Leaf model, which is slated to debut this fall, Vaden Thacher said.
Vaden Nissan of Hinesville is one of three Nissan stores owned by the Vaden Group, which operates eight dealerships in Savannah and the surrounding areas.