State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Longtime Fixture on Automotive Scene Expands: Stocker Opens New Showroom

by on October 24, 2013 12:17 PM

Gene Stocker has been selling cars for decades. By now, you've seen his fast-talking television commercials touting his Chevrolet/Subaru dealership on the Benner Pike. And now Stocker has something new to talk about -- a brand new showroom.

Stocker Subaru, located at 1454 Dreibelbis Rd., opened for business Thursday morning.

Stocker has owned the Subaru franchise since 1983, but decided to expand because customers weren't getting the service they had been given in the past.

"The dealership has grown in sales and service in the past eight to 10 years," Stocker says. "Customer satisfaction became an issue. We had to expand to continue the kind of quality service our customers had become accustomed to."

Stocker bought the Subaru franchise after seeing the potential in its line of all-wheel drive vehicles. He says more Subarus are being sold nationally than Volkswagens.

Stocker says the number of vehicles they've sold has soared in the past couple of years so it made sense to open another dealership.

Stocker claims his dealership does three times the business of the national average for a franchise. He attributes that to his staff and his famous local advertisements; but mostly to his loyal customers.

"People just trust doing business here," Stocker says. "We work at it ... we heavily take care of our customers."

Stocker says he wants people to leave his dealership feeling they had a positive experience. Stocker's dealerships have attributes that help them stand out, such as a drive through service lane and cars for people to borrow while their cars are being serviced.

While getting permits to open new businesses can sometimes be a daunting task, Stocker says opening his new dealership was made easy by both College Township and the Centre Region Code Agency. Stocker says he attempted to build the new dealership with as many local contractors as possible.

"There's been a slump in commercial development in the past couple years locally, so I think those local government officials were happy we used local commercial developers," Stocker says. "The opening was very rewarding."

Adam Lidgett is a freelance reporter who has covered news and feature stories in State College and Centre County.
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