Don “K” Whitefish broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot Subaru showroom on June 14. The expansion will be completed this year and will employ nearly 45 construction workers at its peak this summer.
Owner Don Kaltschmidt and local officials, including Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld, led a short ceremony on the 3-acre site next to the car dealership along U.S. Highway 93. Construction began this week. The expansion will also mean more jobs at the dealership, according to Kaltschmidt.
“We’ll be able to stock more vehicles because we’ll have a lot more space,” Kaltschmidt said. “Now, we’re parking cars at my house.”
The expansion means the dealership’s major brands – Chevrolet, Chrysler and Subaru – will each have individual showrooms on the property. Kaltschmidt said the expansion would include nearly 3 acres of parking lot to display more cars. The new building will also house a new Subaru parts and service department.
Kaltschmidt said the expansion reflects a strengthening economy. In 2009, at the height of the recession, the dealership made $17 million in sales. Last year, it made $66 million.
“We’re seeing a change in the economy and I think it’s getting stronger here in the Flathead Valley and Whitefish,” he said.
Muhlfeld said the dealership expansion is good news for Whitefish and it will bring new job opportunities to the area.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “When we talk about the local economy and job diversification, this is exactly what we’re talking about.”
Don “K” employees 75 people and opened its current location in Whitefish 12 years ago.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.