As Northern Ireland’s largest ŠKODA retailer, Mervyn Stewart has been operating for over 50 years with sites in Belfast and North Down.
In March, an opportunity arose to acquire premises formerly used to operate the INFINITI franchise. Mervyn Stewart had already purchased the adjacent property and, during lockdown, the company completed a transformation to turn the space into its first stand-alone Mervyn Stewart Select used car facility.
The work involved demolishing an existing building to create a large open display area and rebranding the original showroom with the new Select name.
Stephen Stewart, managing director of Mervyn Stewart, said:
“This year every retail sector has faced increased challenges with the uncertainty of the Covid- 19 pandemic but we feel confident that we have launched our Mervyn Stewart Select brand at the right time. There has already been a significant bounce back in sales, with strong demand driving a strong performance through June and July. We have noticed that people have had time to consider what they want and they are now in a position to move forward confidently with their purchase.
“Our Select brand will allow us to respond quickly to the changes in the market. We will stock the cars people want to buy, carefully selecting vehicles and preparing them to the highest standards so that our customers will get outstanding value for money. We offer a full range of vehicles from budget choice to premium brands and executive cars. Everything will have been specially chosen by our team to ensure we offer customers what they are looking for at that time.”
He added: “We have significantly increased our digital offering, with our sales teams able to offer virtual tours of the vehicles and now our customers can even reserve cars online and complete a contactless purchase. While we did have to pause our project for a number of weeks as a result of the pandemic, our contractors, ME Crowe, were brilliant and worked with us so we could open our doors in June when the lockdown restrictions were lifted. We have all appropriate social distancing and enhanced cleaning measures in place to keep customers and staff safe.”
Ellen Matthews, business banking manager at Danske Bank, said:“We are pleased to have supported Mervyn Stewart with its recent expansion through a Bounce Back Loan. This is a company which has been a key player in the Northern Ireland car market for a long time, and they have managed well through the coronavirus lock down by quickly moving to a virtual platform for car sales.
“Mervyn Stewart has proven time again that they are resilient, creative and innovative in how they respond to customer trends. The new Select site offers them additional space and we are confident that the brand will be a welcome new entrant for car buyers this year.”