St. Albert Honda breaking ground
Business expected to move from Morinville in early 2015
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 06:00 am
By this time next year, St. Albert’s new Honda dealership will be up and running.
At least that’s the hope of owner Ross Hodgins, who now operates Frontier Honda in Morinville.
The company is taking on a major move into St. Albert and construction crews are now breaking ground at 875 St. Albert Trail, near Coal Mine Road.
Once the business has moved out of Morinville, it will be renamed St. Albert Honda. But Hodgins says the move is not about wanting out of Morinville.
“One of the things that is important to us is that the community here knows that it’s nothing the community or the economic environment did,” he said. “It’s a requirement of Honda Canada to move to a more metro location.”
That’s not to say he’s not expecting more business once Honda moves.
With its 20,000-square-foot building, the new St. Albert Honda will be almost double the size of the Morinville location.
The greater size will accommodate more cars and repairs, said Hodgins. This includes 10 service bays instead of six, as well as three car wash and detail bays instead of one.
The business will also install three new hoists inside the repair shop, one of which can be used to fix larger vehicles such as trucks and camper vans, he said.
“One of the things that we feel that will be an opportunity at this location potentially will be more truck business,” he said. “Not only Honda trucks but also pre-owned vehicles.”
Other amenities inside the building include a larger showroom that can accommodate up to seven cars, a tire storage area and drive-in service bays.
These allow customers to drive their vehicles directly into the shop rather than parking them outside. A quick-fix bay will provide express service for oil changes or small mechanical issues without an appointment, he said.
“This would be for any kind of service,” he said.
The Hodgins family has been involved in car-related businesses for more than 40 years.
Hodgins said his father and uncle started out in St. Albert with a gas station in 1968.
They later expanded to two more gas stations and a tire repair shop, and created a second business, Trailer Town (later called RV City) in the 1970s.
A few years later they began their partnership with Honda, which required them to move to a more rural area in the 1980s.
By the late 1990s, both RV City and Frontier Honda were located side-by-side at 100 Street in Morinville.
Both businesses have remained in family hands and once Frontier Honda moves out, RV City will amalgamate that site to expand the business’ parking lot and sales and service centre, said Hodgins.
“It’s a big move for us because now we take our business here … and move one entity to a new area,” he said.
Construction of St. Albert Honda is expected to start between now and mid-June and will take about 10 months. Hodgins said he’s hoping to open up the new centre in March or April 2015, pending good weather conditions.
The Morinville Frontier Honda will continue business as usual for now.