Paul Miller Autogroup celebrated the grand opening of its new vehicle center on Bypass Road Friday, setting the stage for new jobs and tax revenue and providing a bright spot amid a recent decline in local car dealerships.
Company president J.P. Miller Jr. said the autogroup also plans to open a tire and auto center and a collision center on the site in 2011, which will include an investment of more than $500,000 and could create a total of 21 jobs on the property.
“A little over two years ago, this country was facing an economical disaster especially on Wall Street, and today marks a day that Paul Miller Company is putting some more money back on Main Street,” J.P. Miller said.
The property had sat vacant for most of 2010 after the previous dealer, Cole Ford Mercury, closed in May. Paul Miller’s AutoOutlet Pre-Owned Vehicle Center opened with seven employees in December.
Miller said the company wants to offer all of the services available at the main dealership in Lexington. A new Quicklane Tire and Auto Center will service all makes and models of vehicles at the back of the lot, he said, and a new Fortune Collision Center will mark the sixth in the Paul Miller franchise. Both centers are scheduled to open in the summer, and each will employ about seven workers.
“Right here on this corner you will have a full facility to take care of all of your automotive needs,” he said. “It’s important to us and our team to bring the service and level of quality we bring in Lexington right here to the folks in Winchester.”
The opening marks a rally of sorts in the middle of a recent drop-off in local dealerships. Along with Cole Ford-Mercury, Winchester lost Andy Ryan Nissan and Muncie Buick-GMC in the past six years.
The decline has caused a loss of about $45,000 in usage tax revenue each year for local government.
According to the Kentucky Department of Revenue, the motor vehicle usage tax is levied by the state for the privilege of driving on public highways.
Officials collect the tax when a vehicle is transferred or registered for the first time in Kentucky.
Most of the money is passed along to state government, but about 3 percent remains here to help fund the Clark County Clerk’s Office and may be included in any excess fees that office turns over the Clark County Fiscal Court.
In addition to the new tax revenue, Todd Denham, director of economic development, said the business will fill an vacant property on the bypass and create new jobs, all of which will benefit the community.
“It’s going to be great for the local economy,” he said.
Contact Mike Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.