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Duke Automotive hosts grand reopening

Staff report

On Monday Duke Automotive Corp., located at 2016 North Main Street, hosted a grand reopening and ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate an extensive, $1.6 million renovation project.

The changes include improving and expanding showroom/sales offices, enlarging the service facility to include a tire center, improving the service center to include a children’s area, complimentary coffee and tea, and dedicated workspaces with Internet access for customers.

Duke also added a new conference/training room for meetings and General Motors distance learning. This new capital project renovated 100 percent of the total 15,579 square feet on North Main Street.

“As the only General Motors dealer in Suffolk, we are pleased to be a part of the exciting growth in our city,” said Lydia Duke, president of Duke Automotive. “Our recent renovation will allow us to continue our 40-year tradition of excellence by offering even more customer-friendly features and by making the sales and service experiences even more enjoyable and convenient.

“As a part of the growth explosion that is occurring all around us, we look forward to having many opportunities to serve the automotive needs of our many valued customers as well as the needs of those who are new to our community.”

Suffolk Mayor Bobby Ralph said, “Expansion of an existing business is a key ingredient to our economic development success, and we are extremely pleased that Duke Automotive has made a significant new investment in their facilities that will serve them well for many years to come. I congratulate them on their continuing success.”

Duke Automotive got its start in 1969 as Duke Olds Cadillac with owner Ray Duke and his son Eley Duke, Jr. In the years to follow, Duke became one of only a few dealerships nationwide with all GM franchises in one location.

In 2003, Lydia Duke became president, dealer and general manager. She is the only woman automotive dealer in Virginia. In 2003 she was awarded one of the highest honors among GM’s women dealers, the “Spirit Of Leadership.” This award is given by the General Motors Women’s Retail Initiative for “leadership, courage, confidence, and resilience” as a female dealer. In 2004, she was honored as one of the recipients of the Hampton Roads Youth Center’s “Ray of Hope Award.” This award honored five local women for their time, talent, and energy in making lives better for young people in the region.