A Bellingham car dealership is now under local ownership.
Earlier this month, Xavier Cortes purchased the Chevrolet dealership at 3891 Northwest Ave., near Interstate 5, from Lithia Auto Stores. Now called Northwest Chevrolet of Bellingham, the dealership also sells Buick, Cadillac and GMC models.
Cortes and his family are moving up to Bellingham after he was the general manager of a Ford dealership in Marysville for several years. He had worked in Bellingham in the past and fell in love with the area. When the opportunity to buy this dealership became available, he jumped at it.
“It was love at first sight,” he said.
In Cortes’ opinion, the dealership has been under-performing, and he’s planning to do several things to earn customers’ trust and grow the business. The dealership has about 200 cars and trucks. He plans on doubling that total to 400 vehicles to give customers more choices. Adding more selection will include expanding the used vehicle category, he said.
He also wants to offer the kind of customer service that will bring people to the dealership. Being a family-owned operation, he and other family members will be at the dealership regularly, making sure customers are taken care of, he said.
The dealership was owned by the Jerry Chambers family until it was sold to Oregon-based Lithia in April 2012.