BRANDON, MAN. – For the first time in more than 25 years, the Birchwood Auto Group has added to its portfolio a store outside of the City of Winnipeg.
As of March 1, Winnipeg’s largest auto group (with 12 standalone new car stores representing 15 brands) has acquired the House of Nissan from the Ball family in Brandon, Manitoba’s second largest city.
“We are always looking for new investment opportunities,” says Steve Chipman, Birchwood Auto Group’s president. “There are not many such opportunities left in Winnipeg. We prefer staying within Manitoba. Brandon has a good economy and a growing population.”
Chipman says that while Birchwood did have partnerships in several stores outside of Winnipeg in the 1970s and ‘80s, his late father, Bob, would buy into dealerships outside of Winnipeg to help new dealers get started.
“The plan was always to have the partners buy dad out after they became established,” he says.
Chipman reports that he had been talking to the Ball family for a number of years about their Nissan store.
“We like the Nissan brand,” he says. “Bruce thought that it was a good time to sell.”
The House of Nissan has been in operation in Brandon since the late ’70s. The Ball family acquired the store in 1998.
The renamed Birchwood Nissan in Brandon measures about 8,000 square feet, has sales of about 200 new cars a year and currently has a staff of 17.
“We will be shortly installing a new general manager and fixed operations manager,” Chipman says. “We will also be putting new processes into place. We are looking at a transition period of about two months.”