New car business in EdwardsburgPublished 8:15pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Edwardsburg Public Schools attracts students. Sometimes small-town living seals the deal and keeps their parents here. At least that’s how Bennett Motor Co. came to open uptown May 14 at U.S. 12 (26472 Main St.) and Cass (Dailey Road).
A lifelong “car guy,” Steve Bennett and his wife, Jennifer, moved to Edwardsburg a year and a half ago. Austin is the only one left in school. Another son owns a landscaping company in Mishawaka. The other two children attend Southwestern Michigan College and Arizona Motorcycle Mechanics Institute.
“We live in town, so we wanted to have a business in town,” Bennett said Tuesday. “I had driven past this corner and said, ‘If it ever becomes available, we’ll open up a car lot.’ Years ago it was a gas station, then Rick’s small engine repair, but he moved out last fall. “We didn’t move far, from Granger, across the state line, but it’s a lot different, a small town versus that metropolis down there. We had a lake home here. The schools were a magnet for us. Then we thought there was some appeal to being in business in the town where you live.”
Bennett’s ideal based on 32 years experience in the vehicle business is selling “nice stuff” with a warranty, combined with a $25 hand wash, dry and wax and $50 detailing in two bays.
He spends mornings scouring for quality vehicles he sells for less than $10,000, so regular hours are noon to 6 p.m., plus after 6 and weekends by appointment.
“My business number is my personal cell phone number (269-635-1635), so I’m accessible 24/7,” said Bennett, who also employs a part-time salesman.
Bennett, son of an RV dealer, was drawn to cars and motorcycles, which he also sells.
“I chose the niche under $10,000 because I personally feel new cars are a poor investment,” Bennett said. “They cost so much and depreciate so quickly.”
“Another thing about the small community we like,” he said, “is the nice reception. We’ve really been welcomed. The Chamber of Commerce brought a bouquet of flowers in, then people just stop in and say, ‘Saw your business. Good luck.’ You don’t run into that in bigger cities. We knew a lot of people up here from church and our kids playing Edwardsburg youth soccer for 15 years. I joined the Lions Club.
“We’re not total strangers to this community.”
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