ELKHART -- Things are pretty busy at Tom Naquin Chevrolet Nissan Cadillac.
It's not just that business is up 30 percent at the dealership over the past year.
It's because there's also construction going on at both the GM and Nissan dealerships at 2500 W. Lexington Ave.
Both renovations will be completed by the end of the year with the 22-year-old Chevrolet-Cadillac building the focus of the most extensive work -- about $1 million -- while the five-year-old Nissan building is getting less attention.
"The entire Tom Naquin group is excited about it," said J. Thad Naquin, dealer owner and president. "While it disrupts business a little bit, it's more than offset by the excitement.
"It's amazing how many people will drive by and pull in just to see what's going on."
What's going on is part of Chevrolet's effort to make all of its dealerships have both a uniform and inviting look that caters to the customer.
Soon the large blue entryway will be visible from the street. All areas of the dealership where customers go -- service, reception, lounge, restrooms, sales and management offices -- are being remodeled.
"It's going to be new and refreshed and more wide open with state-of-the-art electronics and telephones and sound system, computer access and refreshment centers," said Naquin. DJ Construction, of Goshen, is the general contractor.
Glass will surround the entryway, making it warm, open and welcoming, Naquin said.
"Before it was cinder block firewall and a metal door, so it was not very inviting," Naquin said. "Now it will have glass, so it is visible and you can see into a nice customer lounge with refreshments and Wi-Fi."
It's all part of a goal.
"Our hope is to be able to deliver the highest level of service and best buying and service experience after the sale," Naquin said. "And we will certainly have one of the finest facilities in the region to do that."
The moves at the Chevrolet and Nissan dealerships are not required but "are strongly encouraged," by the automakers, Naquin said. And help is given by both automakers with architects to make sure the outcome meets the automakers' standards.
Additionally, both Nissan and Chevrolet help offset costs for meeting their guidelines.
"Everything is being done to enhance the customer experience," Naquin said. "The whole point of this is to make it more efficient and more family-friendly and welcoming for dealership visitors and clients."
That concept is part of doing business these days, said Greg Fink, general manager at Tom Naquin. The customer experience is evolving at auto dealerships, in part because of the influence of Apple stores, he said.
The Naquin overhaul is among dozens of dealership renovations and rebuilds that have been accomplished over the past several years. Part of it is a sign of an improving automotive market; part of it is the result of requirements by manufacturers.