Music City Honda is endeavoring to ingratiate itself into the Mt. Juliet community with a grand opening celebration on Jan. 22.

The celebration is intended not as a means to promote sales any more than any other day but, rather, as a way to welcome the community that welcomed Honda according to General Manager Richard Schindler. It's scheduled for 6 p.m. on a Wednesday evening at the store, which is located at 88 Belinda Parkway on the northern side of Providence Mall.

The grand opening celebration is meant to be a direct yet convivial way of meeting and greeting citizens and neighbors without trying to sell them cars.

"I know we've spent a lot of money on advertising, but I still hear from people as they come in, 'We didn't know you were open; we didn't know.' And I think, 'My goodness,' " Schindler said.

Schindler went further to explain that he can't spend the store into a profit, and advertisement only goes so far. While they're making an effort, he wants to be as creative as possible with how he invites the community so that he and his staff can meet people in the area and get to know them.

The celebration will have refreshments, including cookies and beverages. Schindler said they'll be carefully serving alcoholic beverages but in an amount he described as enough to toast but not for really drinking, so to speak. Moreover, the event will feature entertainment and music as well.

Music City Honda comes from Madison, relocating to Mt. Juliet shortly after changing its name from Trickett Honda. The name change came with a rebranding effort made by Umansky Automotive Group when the company bought Trickett Honda in 2016, and the move to Mt. Juliet was already part of the rebranding strategy.

According to Schindler, the Japanese auto company, Honda, pushed the relocation partly on the basis that Madison is entering a sort of gentrification while Mt. Juliet is a rapidly growing city, previously without any nearby Honda dealerships. Umansky employed the common marketing tactic used by department stores, restaurants and gas stations by pitching tent next to another dealership.

Music City Honda sits right next to Two Rivers Ford, heretofore the sole dealership in the city. Schindler explained that Ford and Honda aren't direct competitors, so they both benefit from the juxtaposition. Since Ford focuses more on truck models and Honda doesn't, the two can collectively draw those who are in the market for a vehicle yet automatically divide patrons based on categories of inventory.

Music City Honda opened its doors on Belinda Parkway in late October, slightly delayed by an electrical compliance issue, and it still has yet to mount several signs soon to be installed. Nevertheless, the store brought 75 employees from its previous location in Madison, retaining them all through the approximate two-year wait, and it has already added ten of the 20 new positions they projected they would fill. In time, Schindler said he still expects to fill the rest.

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