Burtness opens new dealership in Orfordville

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Gina Duwe
Sunday, October 6, 2013

ORFORDVILLE--Burtness Chevrolet of Orfordville plans to open its doors Monday to a new facility along Highway 11 that is nearly triple the size of the old location downtown.

“It's about having customer amenities and doing things we've never been able to do,” said Brian Bowditch of Burtness.

The move clears the way for village officials to decide what to do with the business's old 9,000-square-foot facility downtown at 303 E. Beloit St. and the empty lot across the street, which the village now owns through a property swap.

Construction on the new Burtness facility started last winter on 15-acres along Highway 11 west of Highway 213. Gilbank Construction of Clinton was the general contractor on the 25,000-square-foot facility.

The new building includes two indoor delivery bays, a car wash, a covered service drive-up, space for four cars in the showroom floor, a customer lounge, new technology and more office space, Bowditch said. It also will be “image compliant” with General Motors, matching the blue arch design of other dealerships.

“We've never lived in this world. The customer conveniences for us are over the top, which is what we're most excited about, and a little elbow room,” Bowditch said.

After staff members are settled, the dealership intends hiring four or more employees, he said.

The dealer is planning a grand opening Saturday, Nov. 2. An auction is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 18, at the old facility to sell extra equipment. Much of the equipment at the new building is new.

The old building will be handed over to the village by the end of the year after the auction and some cleaning, Bowditch said.

Burtness approached the village in 2011 about buying the downtown facility. The parties agreed the village would borrow $290,000 to buy land for the new facility in a tax incremental financing district. The village sold the property to Burtness for a nominal fee—about $1—and the village took ownership of the old facility, which Burtness had appraised at about $470,000.

Village officials talked about moving the village offices, police department and possibly the library into the old facility, but no decisions were made.

The issue has not been discussed since last fall, and no plans have been finalized, Village Clerk Sherri Waege said.

“We just kind of all put it in the background until they get situated and out of there,” she said.

When the building is empty, the village will start looking at all its options, she said.

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