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This article was published 20/9/2019 (734 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There are big changes coming to the property currently housing Birchwood Ford and the adjacent Birchwood Truck Centre on Regent Avenue.
According to Birchwood Auto Group president Steve Chipman, the work will begin in early November, when the truck centre will be demolished to make way for Birchwood’s new Volkswagen store. The Ford store will also be replaced by a brand-new building on the east side of the lot.
The new Birchwood Ford — which will be the second Winnipeg Ford store after Mid-Town Ford to sport Ford’s Signature image — will be 42,000 square feet, making it about 40 per cent bigger than the current facility. While the new eight-car showroom will be about the same size as the current store, the service department will be substantially larger.
"The service area is where we are seeing growth," Chipman says.
"More people are shopping online rather than going to a dealership. People are also keeping their vehicles longer. The vehicles still need to be serviced regularly. That is why we are focusing more on parts and service at the new facility."
While the new store is being built, the Birchwood Ford sales staff will relocate to 810 Regent Ave. (near Plessis Road), a property the Birchwood Group has recently leased.
Chipman says the new Birchwood Ford is scheduled to be open for business next fall.
The Birchwood Auto Group’s new Volkswagen store will be the first new VW store to open in Winnipeg in more than 35 years. It is being built on the site that was once Gran Turismo Motors — a Volkswagen dealership that closed in the 1980s.
The new 24,000-sq.-ft. Volkswagen store will have a 10-car showroom and should also be open for business next fall.
Karting is a family affair
Fresh off his most recent karting championship at the Junior 2 level for Manitoba, 15-year-old Brad Bachalo is looking forward to moving up to the Senior level next season, where he will be competing against his older brother, Stephen, and his father, Jeff, who is the general manger of Birchwood Honda on Regent Avenue.
The proud dad reports his sons have won championships in karting in every age group they have competed in.
"We were the first family to have championships in every classification," says the elder Bachalo, who has been part of the Birchwood Auto Group management team for 30 years.
Jeff took up karting in 2006, and Stephen and Brad started racing at ages eight and seven, respectively — quickly rising through the standings in Manitoba and across Canada in their age groups.
Bachalo says most of the guys racing at the adult level are in their late teens and early 20s — although one competitor is in his 60s. "I like it because it keeps me feeling young," he says.
While over the years the family has competed in races from Quebec to British Columbia, dad says from now on, the three of them will be restricting their racing mainly to Manitoba and the occasional race in Saskatchewan.
Bachalo is also looking forward to Stephen joining him in business in the future. Stephen decided at the age of 12 that he wanted to go into the auto business and he is currently in his second year at the Asper School of Business studying management, while working washing cars at Birchwood Lexus Toyota.
Last November, Stephen was one of 15 young people to be awarded a scholarship at the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association’s sixth annual Industrial Celebration & Awards event at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre. The winners included individuals currently working at, or who have worked for, Manitoba new car dealerships — or who have family members employed in the industry.
Jeff Bachalo says younger son Brad is interested in pursuing a career in sports management.