Streetsboro -- Kia of Streetsboro and Nissan of Streetsboro both celebrated their grand openings June 21 with a visit from Cleveland Browns Safety Donte Whitner and several hundred area residents in attendance.
The dealerships were purchased this spring by The Collection Auto Group from Classic Auto Group. Both are located on Classic Drive in Streetsboro off Route 14 just east of the Ohio Turnpike.
The sale of the Kia dealership was finalized May 23, said Brian Eastin, the general manager of Kia of Streetsboro who moved from New Orleans to Northeast Ohio to manage the dealership.
What attracted him to the chilly north from the deep south?
"It was The Collection Auto Group; it was their philosophy," he explained. "This is a very customer-centered customer service organization."
He also said the auto group is a "very aggressively growing company" with its headquarters in Mentor and dealerships throughout Northeast Ohio, as well as Boston, Florida and the Cincinnati area of Kentucky.
"We're branching off in other areas, but Northeast Ohio is where our core is; it's where our headquarters is," he said. "We're very excited to be part of the Streetsboro area."
Steve Sawyer is the general manager of Nissan of Streetsboro, which was purchased April 1 from Classic Auto Group.
The grand opening event ran from noon to 5 p.m. June 21, said Eastin. It featured Whitner, a raffle for Indians tickets and visits from Black Squirrel Radio Station, Kent State University's station and WMMS.
Eastin said the dealership has specials on all its Kia models through the end of June as part of its grand opening, including special financing.
The Collection Auto Group Digital Manager Ralph Stawicki also said the dealership is offering a "555" deal in which customers become eligible to win $5,000 cash if they take a 5-minute test drive in one of 500 eligible cars. The deal runs through the end of the year, and winners are chosen monthly.
Along with a chance to meet Whitner, one customer, Stacy Walker of Aurora, also won a set of four tickets to the Cleveland Browns home opener this year, a $1,000 value. To enter the drawing, fans had to "Like" Kia of Streetsboro's Facebook page by June 18.
"I called and asked if got a spam email," said Walker, who plans take her two sons and one additional person, yet to be determined to the game. "This was the first thing I've ever won. I can't wait to get to the game."
As it turned out, the current Kia owner also was checking out new Kias at the grand opening.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens