Broken Arrow is experiencing growth in multiple areas of the city, creating a “new face” for the state’s fourth-largest city.
Not content to just watch new development whiz by, some of the businesses are joining in. They are investing in their operations and catching the new wave of development in one of the state’s most prospering cities.
For instance, Matthews Ford is finishing up a $2 million remodel of the dealership on Broken Arrow’s car sales corridor, which begins at Broken Arrow Expressway and Aspen Avenue (145th East Avenue) and curves south along Elm Place, a mile farther east.
James Matthews of Matthews Ford has been in the car business since he left high school in the mid-1980s in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and joined an Oklahoma City dealership.
In 2000, he was ready to go out on his own and was on his way to Joplin to buy a Toyota dealership. A friend in the car business in Tulsa persuaded him to stop by and talk with Jim Norton, who was ready for a partner for a GMC store in Sapulpa.
They struck up a partnership, later expanded locations and other operations to the present Broken Arrow site in 2005. Matthews bought out the Ford dealership in 2010.
In considering the remodel of the building, which was originally constructed in 1996, Matthews said he was observing the maturing of Broken Arrow.
He was also watching the competitive Broken Arrow landscape: “Ferguson (Superstore) was finishing up their big remodel, Nelson (Nissan) had completed theirs the year before and Jim Norton, my former partner, is getting ready for a remodel on his Chevy store,” Matthews said.
“We were ready to do something too when Ford, under the ‘standards of excellence campaign,’ would participate 50 percent up to $1.5 million in remodel of ‘customer point-of-contact’ remodel.”
Ford also provided design services.
The remodel includes:
A major interior revamp that included expanding sales offices and the showroom.
An exterior refashion that includes a large modern display treatment for the iconic blue oval Ford logo.
Modernized lighting, including interior and exterior LED fixtures. (That’s a lot of lighting, he noted).
Matthews said that the LED investment would pay off in three years due to rebates and energy savings.
Matthews said “the lot has creeks running underneath and was causing all kinds of paving problems. It had to be re-done in more than just re-laying it. To re-do it properly was about a half-million dollars by itself.”
He also said the air conditioning units in the original structure were replaced. He also laughed that the air conditioning wasn’t considered as a customer point-of-contact item and wasn’t included in any rebates by Ford, along with the resurfacing of the lots.
“It (the remodel) was something I had thought about for a long time and – and it is a long-term investment. I’m positive it will pay off.”