As Christenson Chevrolet of Highland celebrates its 60th year in business, the family-owned and -operated dealership prepares to launch its latest renovation as part of its association with Chevrolet.
This major remodeling, which will begin next year, continues the traditions that have made Christenson Chevrolet a vital community member, says Dean Christenson, owner and son of co-founder Milford Christenson.
The Christenson family's commitment to doing business and making a difference in the Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area is reflected in Milford's own work schedule at the dealership. Every day, the 90 year old founder can be found in his office working a full day with the staff.
Milford Christenson, along with his two brothers Roy and Dale Sr. and his father, Warner, established the family's Chevy dealership in their hometown of Griffith, where the showroom was located at Broad and Main streets. In addition to donating to veterans' organizations and local charities, the Christenson family supported the Griffith Fire Department by allowing their employees who were volunteer firefighters to report for duty as needed.
That spirit of giving back to the community continues today.
Christenson Chevrolet supports a wide variety of causes and projects. These include a long-time affiliation with Campagna Academy in Schererville, a residential and educational facility for at-risk youth and Sharing Meadows that assists handicapped adults.
During 2011, Christenson Chevrolet has also provided donations to Chevy's 2011 Youth Baseball Program, the Humane Society Calumet Area Inc. and the South Lake Food Pantry. The dealership also donated a 14-passenger Chevrolet Starcraft van to the Indiana University Northwest Redhawk athletes and a 15-passenger Chevrolet Express van to the Purdue University Calumet athletic program.
In 1963, the family built the current Christenson Chevrolet Superstore at 9700 Indianapolis Blvd. in Highland.
Multiple generations of customers' families continue to purchase new and pre-owned vehicles from Christenson Chevrolet.
"We serve all of Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. This includes Highland, Merrillville, Crown Point, Schererville, Portage, Valparaiso, Lansing, Calumet City, Beecher, Cedar Lake, Hobart, Hebron, Chicago, Hammond and more," says Dean Christenson.
"Your Highland Chevrolet dealer is here for your personal or commercial vehicles needs," he says.
Among the new, popular personal vehicles customers will find at Christenson Chevrolet is the Sonic, a sub-compact car that especially appeals to young and first-time car buyers, Dean Christenson says.
"The price, the size and the economy are the major reasons for this car's popularity. It starts at $14,000 and has the electronics and high-tech features that young people like such as an MP3 player and USB port."
The Chevy Cruze is the best-selling car in America and with good reason, Dean Christenson says. The fuel economy of 42 miles per gallon and the $16,000 to $20,000 sticker price attract buyers, he says.
Pre-owned vehicles are also in good supply at Christenson Chevrolet. Seventy-five percent of the pre-owned vehicles are certified and carry different warranties depending on the age of the vehicle.
Christenson Chevrolet has also created a niche over the past 15 years, specializing in commercial vehicles, Dean Christenson says.
"You work hard and so does your truck. At Christenson Chevy, we understand the importance of a good utility vehicle. Whether you need a personal vehicle or are looking for a light duty commercial vehicle, our online inventory will have what you need," he says.
"We custom-build trucks such as service vehicles, flat-beds and dump trucks for business, industry and municipalities," he says.
These commercial vehicles are always in stock and can be purchased with the factory-installed equipment or customized.
Among the in-stock service vehicles are the Chevy Silverado 2500HD, the Chevy Silverado 3500HD truck, the Chevy Express Commercial Cutaway and the Express Cargo Van.
"If you don't see the commercial vehicle that will serve your business needs on our website, give our dealership a call at (219) 961-4144 or email us with your request. Our staff is happy to help," Dean Christenson says.
The dealership's 70 employees are enthusiastic and informed about all aspects of buying and maintaining vehicles.
"Our service, parts and body shop departments are standing by to assist you with every aspect of you vehicle maintenance. Need a specific Chevy part? Your choice among Indiana Chevrolet dealers is here to provide for all your Chevy needs," he says. "We also provide an extensive used and GM Certified Pre-Owned inventory. It's service and choices like these than make Christenson a fantastic choice."
Christenson Chevrolet is also one of the few Chevy dealerships that has a Collision Center to repair vehicles.
"We do front end repairs, repairs to the frame, body and paint," Dean Christenson says.
The major remodeling that the dealership will undergo will only enhance these services, he says.
"We will double the size of the service department. We currently have 16 service bays and will have about 30 when the renovation is completed," he says. "Our sales business has been increasing, and the service portion goes right along with that."
The showroom will also see extensive renovations and the exterior will have a new look in keeping with Chevrolet's image update.
Christenson Chevrolet maintains convenient hours for its customers. The showroom hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. The service department is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Collision Center welcomes customers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"Our service department operates both with and without appointments. We try not to ever turn anyone away," Dean Christenson says.
To make appointments or learn more about the many vehicles and services available at Christenson Chevrolet, log on to the dealership's website at http://www.christensonchevy.com/.
"The website is one way to communicate with our customers. Come in and see us, too," says Dean Christenson. "At Christenson Chevrolet, you'll find a giant showroom, not giant pressure."