Latest expansion equals ‘local success story’ for O’Brien Auto Team

Local News

NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — In the twin cities, a locally owned business is continuing to grow within the area.

The O’Brien Automotive Group based in Bloomington-Normal will soon open its sixth location within McLean County.

The project approved Monday night by the Normal town council includes a new building, as well as additions and updates to the two O’Brien locations in the Town currently. President of O’Brien Auto Ryan Gremore said they are pleased to continue growing in the place he’s called home since 2005.

“We started in 1987, right here in this building as a Mitsubishi dealership,” Gremore said.

Gremore said the auto group, which sells Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Honda and other cars, said they’re adding Genesis to the O’Brien family. He said Genesis is an offshoot of Hyundai, but the demand is growing to warrant its own building for the brand.

“We will have a three-tiered, full lineup here at this one location and obviously next door at Genesis that fits the needs,” Gremore said. “We feel this investment is totally warranted, it’s one of the fastest growing luxury brands in the country.”

Gremore said the Genesis brand has won numerous awards from auto enthusiasts nationally.

Town of Normal leaders said the agreement they signed off on Monday night, unanimously, is a win-win for Normal and O’Brien with no expense to the taxpayers. Councilman Scott Preston said O’Brien isn’t getting any tax breaks unless they exceed their yearly sales of $435,000.

“Any incentive that they get from the town in this agreement we passed last night is only on the additional revenue, up to $850,000,” Preston said.

He said it’s great to see the locally-owned company grow in Normal.

“The new plan that they’re putting forth, and we approved the package for last night allows them to grow, allows this place to be a destination for that specific market and those buyers, and we’re glad they’re doing it in Normal,” Preston said.

Patrick Hoban CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council said O’Brien is an example of a local success story. He added around 80% of investment comes from existing businesses and a development like this creates a ripple effect.

“It’s not just the jobs that are there, but the investment creates construction jobs and then creates more tax base for our economy,” Hoban said.

Gremore said they wouldn’t want to grow anywhere else.

“I’m very pleased to own businesses in a town that has great community support and that they see eye-to-eye with community members and business owners,” Gremore said.

To better accommodate the Genesis addition, O’Brien plans on moving its Normal Hyundai location to its current Mitsubishi location off Fort Jesse Road and in turn, the Mitsubishi lot will move across Veteran’s Parkway next to Sam’s Club in place of Hyundai.

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