MILFORD – There’s bound to be a few more Hyundai’s on the road in downtown Milford.
After nearly a decade since Imperial Cars left its original Chevrolet dealership at 154-160 East Main St. to set up shop in Mendon, it has pulled back into town, signalling the company’s first move into foreign automobiles.
Hyuandai is the latest name to join the Imperial family which includes Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Chevrolet.
“We’re just thrilled to be back in town, back in Milford,” Michael Penner, general manager of the company’s four dealerships, said Saturday during the new location’s first day in business.
The expansive lot is now home to a variety of Hyundai’s and will also be the dealership’s center for used foreign cars sales across many different makes and models, according to Penner.
Servicing and other operations are slated to inhabit the existing building on the lot, which most recently housed World Gym. The Planning Board voted in January to approve plans for the new dealership.
Penner said once renovations on the structure are completed in few months, the dealership will employ upwards of 50 people. A grand opening is scheduled after the work is completed, he said.
With the new digs, Imperial Cars is returning to the roots owner Kevin Meehan laid out in 1991, according to Penner.
The 154-160 East Main Street site was the Chevrolet dealership up until about 2008, said Sales Manager Jason Meehan.
The location, right in the heart of town, is prime, Penner said.
“It was a great location for us,” he said. “We just want to put it back to what it originally was.”
For Jason Meehan, the return means more than an opportunity to sell cars.
Coming back to the Milford site is a return to his childhood. His father had only launched the original dealership a few years before he was born.
“It’s good to be back…there’s a lot of memories on this lot,” he said, sitting inside the temporary trailer office Saturday afternoon.
Some of those visits to memory lane also parallel with those of Finance Manager Michael Walsh, Jr., whose father, Michael Walsh, worked at the original location and is still employed at Imperial Cars.
The younger Walsh recalled peering through the window of the old dealership recently, taking a look around the old stomping grounds.
“I can take you through the dealership and tell you all kinds of stories,” he said.
With the new location up and running, Penner and Jason Meehan said the company feels confident about the state of the economy.
“We built the last dealership (in Mendon) in the Great Recession…We’ve never really been scared of that,” Jason Meehan said.
After putting out over 100 cars, tying up some balloons and blasting music, Penner said the sales team was already sending a few customers home behind the wheel of their latest purchases.
Christopher Gavin can be reached at 508 634-7582 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @c_gavinMDN