Auto reconditioning business expands to old airport in Cleveland, Tennessee

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Almost a decade after Cleveland Municipal Airport moved to a larger facility, the old airport and its 0.6 mile airstrip and hangars serve as a new type of runway for a company in full growth that Chad Roberts from Cleveland is hoping to take. at national scale.

In the five maintenance and hangar buildings at the old airport, Roberts’ newly formed solution-oriented services detail and recondition cars and trucks for online auto sales company Vroom. The new automotive conditioning company, which builds on Roberts’ integrated retail service business he established over the past decade in Houston, will inspect, clean and perform minor repairs to mechanics, paintwork and used car equipment that Vroom will bring to the old airport site. within a radius of about 150 miles.

Once cleaned and reconditioned, Solutions Oriented Services will use a photo studio to obtain the best vehicle photographs for web postings and other Vroom sales promotions.

“Vroom is booming, and they approached us about the opportunity to use the Cleveland Airport to do something similar to what we do in Houston,” said Roberts during a visit to its new Cleveland facility. “We plan to make around 150 vehicles per week here, and we hope to grow even more over time.”

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Photo gallery

From planes to cars, the Cleveland plant finds a new future

Roberts, a 51-year-old Navy veteran who has worked in auto reconditioning since 1994, grew up in Cleveland but has worked in the Houston area since 2000. He said he was eager to start a business in his hometown, where his parents are still living. If successful, Roberts said he wanted to expand the remanufacturing operation to other markets for Vroom and other auto dealers and traders.

If the business grows as Roberts hopes, he plans to build a larger facility in Cleveland to rival the 200-employee facility in Houston, where the business has multiple locations that recondition and detail vehicles for a variety. of dealers in the Houston area.

Work began this week with about a third of the 60 workers the company hopes to have on staff after its first year of operation, and Roberts is hoping to eventually expand facilities at the airport. Solutions Oriented Services has a three-year lease for most of Jones Properties’ 36-acre former airport.

Check Into Cash owner Allan Jones acquired ownership of the airport in June 2014 after the City of Cleveland built a new municipal airport which opened in 2013. Jones previously used the airport hangars for servicing cars sold through one of its companies, Buy Here Pay Here USA, which was eventually sold to Autosimple in 2018. Autosimple used the old airport facility until 2020, and Carvana leased it until last year, according to Jones Management Co.

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A hangar has 12 elevators for mechanical work, and the old airport also has a paint shop and retail area. An Advanced Auto Parts store moved into the airport’s maintenance facility this week to supply parts for Vroom vehicles, similar to the arrangement made by Advanced Auto Parts with Roberts’ Operation Detail Integrated Services with Vroom at Houston.

Detail Integrated Services has provided similar auto details and minor repairs for Vroom at its Houston plant for the past two and a half years and also works for Sonic Automotive and other dealers in the Houston area, Roberts said.

“It’s a very proven and successful model in Houston,” said Roberts, who has worked in the automotive business since 1994.

Each car goes through a 170-point inspection in cooperation with Vroom, who will also have employees on site.

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The typical car is inspected, cleaned, detailed and, if necessary, repainted, retrofitted or reconditioned within approximately six days of delivery of the vehicle to the site.

The airport runway provides parking and travel space for thousands of vehicles, Roberts said.

Roberts said he was eager to hire more workers to staff the growing business. Mechanics are paid $ 15 to $ 25 an hour, and auto retailers who clean cars typically earn $ 3,000 to $ 5,000 per month on a commission-based compensation plan, Roberts said.

Positions now available include cosmetic inspectors, automotive designers, painters and preparers, photographers, porters, technicians, car washers, service technicians, paintless dent technicians and porters. workshop.

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340.

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