The once empty parking lot next to Chapters on Kenmount Road has been filled. Hickman Auto Group has stepped into the space, opening a new Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram dealership, now known as Hickman Chrysler.
"The Chrysler dealership in St. John's means continued employment for those who worked for the Saturn Saab dealership, which closed Dec. 31," stated Jonathan Hickman in a news release on the dealership.
Speaking with The Telegram, Hickman said the history of the site and recent woes of the automotive industry at the national level did not cause him any hesitation in moving in and setting up the Chrysler dealership.
"This is what we know. We've been selling vehicles as a family for 105 years," said Hickman, who is a part of the fourth generation of vehicle-expert Hickmans, along with brother Bert.
"Opening a new franchise, it didn't phase us. But it was very exciting," he said.
Hickman said he expects the dealership could sell between 650 and 700 new vehicles in its first year.
"We are very pleased to welcome Hickman Automotive Group to the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram family," stated Reid Bigland, President and CEO of Chrysler Canada in the formal announcement on the dealership opening.
"The Hickman family's passion and demonstrated commitment to the community make them an asset to our team."
The new location on the corner of Kenmount Road and Peet Street is Hickman Automotive Group's second dealership on the strip, the first being Hickman Motors.
Hickman Auto Group also has sales locations in Gander, Burin, Carbonear and Clarenville.
Hickman's employs 370 people provincewide.