COLUMBUS, Ohio — It has a name with star power. Now, Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet needs to fuel that fame into car sales.
With new energy, processes and support from Feldman Automotive Group, employees at this large dealership are pumped to try to double or even triple sales from the level produced by the former Bobby Layman Chevrolet.
A visit last week from A-list Hollywood star and producer Wahlberg, who partnered with dealer Jay Feldman in July to buy the dealership, didn't hurt.
"The energy level is way higher now, a lot of excitement brewing," said Brian Gilmore, who became general manager of Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet on Aug. 3. He came from AutoNation Ford North Canton in northeast Ohio. Store employees know "this is going to impact our business when it comes to the name recognition, the traffic it's going to generate. I think they all understand how big of an opportunity it is."
While Wahlberg won't be in Columbus too often, he said he will be involved and will have a presence in the dealership, which sold 200 new and used vehicles a month under previous ownership,
Case in point: Large TV screens in the service lounge and throughout the sales floor will allow Wahlberg to communicate with staff and customers.
"We're going to do some cool stuff. ... We're creating this new technology called the virtual visitor, where at the press of a button, I can be on every screen of the store," Wahlberg said. "We want to be as active as possible. We want to be here and be as visible as possible."
The idea borrows from something Wahlberg does at his chain of Wahlburgers restaurants. Feldman, dealer principal of the Chevy store and CEO of Feldman Automotive Group, now with nine stores, called the system a giant FaceTime of sorts. It also will be used to give updates on Wahlberg's life including his movies.