For a relatively modest investment of $120,000 in economic incentives, the Manatee County Economic Development Progran aided Gettel Automotive Management Group in moving its corporate headquarters from Gainesville to Bradenton and opening a new dealership, Gettel Toyota of Lakewood at 5959 State Road 64 E.
Most significantly, Gettel created 122 new jobs with an average wage of $38,465, 115 percent of the average for this area, said Karen Stewart, Manatee County program manager.
Gettel received $1,000 for each of the first 120 jobs it created.
Bob Bisplinghoff, chief operating officer for Gettel Automotive Management Group, said that while the economic incentives were not the deciding factor in opening the new store and consolidating corporate staff in Bradenton, the incentives made the decision easier.
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Gettel bought the 20-acre property in 2006 and weathered an economic meltdown with the Great Recession before opening the $22 million property in 2012.
Opening a new dealership some distance from the traditional locations in Bradenton was recognition of the booming growth in East Manatee and Lakewood Ranch, Bisplinghoff said.
In 2010, Gettel purchased Hyundai of Bradenton and moved the dealership into a new 33,400-square-foot facility next door to Gettel Toyota of Lakewood.
Gettel now has 11 stores: six in Bradenton-Sarasota, three in Ocala and two in Gainesville.
Owner Jim Gettel bought his first Bradenton store in 1991 and has kept his focus on doing business in the Sunshine State, Bisplinghoff said.
We are ready for any other growth opportunity that might come along.
Ellen Walther, Gettel’s director of public relations, joined the company 23 years ago, when there were only 41 employees.
“Now there are more than 800,” she said.
“This is a great place to work. We give back to the community, we are fair to our customers with good service and a good product,” Walther said.
As a group, Gettel retailed 20,000 vehicles last year, Bisplinghoff said.
The Automotive News ranks Gettel among the top 100 dealer groups in the United States, based on new vehicle sales.
Since 2010, Gettel has added six new stores to its lineup.
Will it add more?
“We are ready for any other growth opportunity that might come along,” Bisplinghoff said.
Taking a cue from its Gettel Toyota of Lakewood store, the company is planning to replace its Bradenton store at 6323 14th St. W., with a new store next door on the site of a former bingo hall.
The new Bradenton store will resemble the Lakewood store, but be a little smaller at 57,212-square feet, with a 31,492-square-foot collision repair shop.
“ By the end of 2017, we hope to be up and running in that store. That will give our customers on the west side the same kind of experience they have here,” Bisplinghoff said.
Incentives at a glance: Gettel Automotive Management Group
Location: 5959 State Road 64 E., Bradenton
Incentive amount: $120,000
Projected job growth: 120
Average wage: $38,465
Capital investment: $22 million
Current employment: 840
Source: Manatee County Economic Development Program, Gettel Automotive Management Group, and Bradenton Herald archives
Gettel dealerships in Bradenton-Sarasota
Gettel Hyundai of Lakewood, 5921 State Road 64 E., Bradenton
Gettel Scion, 6423 14th St. W., Bradenton
Gettel Toyota, 6423 14th St. W., Bradenton
Gettel Toyota of Lakewood, 5959 State Road 64 E., Bradenton
Scion of Lakewood, 5959 State Road 64 E., Bradenton
Gettel Acura, 4891 Clark Road, Sarasota
Gettel Hyundai, 3500 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota
Gettel Nissan, 3530 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota