SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

June 18, 2014

CarMax coming to North Shore's 'Automile'

When Claire Leggett of Manchester-by-the-Sea went car shopping with her college-aged daughter, Mimi, the pair headed to Route 114 to test drive a used Passat at Kelly Volkswagen.

In the not too distant future, this family will have another option when it comes to buying preowned vehicles.

A CarMax Auto Superstore, which sells only used cars, is coming to the present location of Ira Toyota on Route 114 in Danvers, while the Toyota dealer moves his campus a half-mile east on the same road, where construction has already begun.

CarMax is the nation’s largest used car retailer with 136 locations nationwide, including one in North Attleborough. The company opened its first store in Richmond, Virginia, 20 years ago. It promises a transparent buying process and “no haggle prices.” Its vehicles tend to be between 1 and 6 years old with less than 60,000 miles on them.

“The location is ideal, with great visibility off of Interstate 95, and is located in a major retail corridor and auto area,” said Catherine Gryp, CarMax public relations manager. “With the existing customer traffic and high visibility of the store, this location is a great fit.”

CarMax is not the first to have noticed that Route 114 has become a popular place to buy and sell cars. The street now boasts 15 new car dealerships in Peabody and Danvers, three others nearby, plus three used-car dealers.

“It’s our Automile; it really is,” said Brian Kelly, president and CEO of Kelly Automotive Group, referring to a stretch of Route 1 in Norwood where dealerships are clustered on both sides of the road. Kelly has expanded on Route 114 since moving here in the late 1990s. He has four dealerships — Volkswagen, Maserati, Fiat and Infiniti — along the bustling roadway.

He also owns the 2.5-acre former Borders bookstore site on Route 114 in Peabody but said he is still searching for the right franchise.

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