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Makeover greets customers at local dealership
Along with a complete exterior makeover, the inside of the Billy Howell Ford Lincoln dealership has sported a new look since December 2011. - photo by Jim Dean

The exterior of a local car dealership recently got a facelift.

Billy Howell Ford Lincoln added the new, more modern front façade as part of an overall renovation that began in 2011.

Bill Howell, general manager and vice president of the dealership on Atlanta Highway, said the new façade is part of a joint project with Lincoln.

“They wanted to standardize the look of all Lincoln dealerships, so it was a blueprint design that we basically had to follow,” Howell said. “This is the future face of Lincoln dealerships.”

To Howell, the new front provides a “very clean, very modern look” to the dealership.

“It really updates the facility,” he said, noting that it previously was a light brown color.

The new façade is silver with back accents.

“When we built the dealership, [what we had] was the look of most dealerships,” he said. “But you figure we’ve been here over 25 years at this location, so it was time for a change.”

Customer Dave Hollingsworth agreed the new look freshens up the dealership.

“I think the façade on the front looks good,” he said. “[They] did a nice job with that. I’ve been buying cars here since ’99, so I was used to the old front, but I think the new one looks really nice.”

Besides the façade, other recent improvements to the facility include an overhaul of the service area.

“We basically ripped out all the old insulation, put in new spray-in insulation, painted it, put in new furniture and completely redesigned the customer lounge,” Howell said.

He also noted that the two restrooms in the service area were redone and a beverage station was added to the lounge area.

“I think it’s a very clean, comfortable look and we’ve had a lot of customers comment on how nice it is and how comfortable it is.”

The exterior and service area renovations were part of an overall project that began a couple of years ago.

The first phase, which was completed in late 2011, included an overhaul of the front reception and sales area, as well as a new employee break room.

Howell said the aesthetic changes have proven to be a morale booster for workers.

“The employees take a lot of pride in it,” he said. “It’s like when you paint your own house, you smile more when you go into it. You’re like, ‘Wow this is nice.’”

It’s also good on the business side of things, he noted, to not become “dated.”

“There are a lot of good things to being established in a community as long as we have, but there’s also some bad things, like you start getting a dated look,” he said. “Then when modern things go in, you look even more dated and that was one of the issues we had.

“But now with the exterior and service drive done, we’ve completely redone everything inside and outside and I think we look as modern as anyone else.”