A Warren car dealership known for its gigantic American flag flying over its lot has moved to Boardman, taking most, if not all, its employees with it.
Preston BMW, formerly on Youngstown Warren Road S.E. (U.S. 422), opened for its first day of business Aug. 6 after moving from the old location in Warren where the inventory, showroom and offices were transferred completely during the weekend of Aug. 4 and 5.
''This move was actually for convenience to our customers,'' said Kevin Leya, vice president of Preston BMW. ''About 80 percent of our customers are from the Canfield, Poland, Boardman area. Now we're situated on Automotive Row in the Youngstown area.''
He said many of the employees also were from that area of Mahoning County.
Leya said the new spot at 7830 Market St. was formerly Stadium Lincoln, Mercury, Mazda. The new BMW dealership now sits next to Preston Volkswagon that was formerly Stadium Volkswagon.
Leya said the move has been planned for a while and the company began renovating the interior of the new larger showroom and offices to international BMW specifications beginning in January.
About 30 people in all working in sales, service, parts and administrative positions made the move to the new location. And Leya said the dealership is still looking for others to work at the new site, where the dealership is sponsoring a job fair 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The old dealership is for sale, but Leya said the location still is being used as a Preston reconditioning center, where vehicles of different brands are refurbished for re-sale after being traded in. He said six employees still are working in the center in Warren.
Leya said he still fondly remembers the 30-by-50-foot flag that flew in front of the car lot in Warren.
''It was quite a project to replace that flag almost every year. It cost about $2,000 for a flag that size,'' he said.
Preston, which started with its first dealership in New Castle, Pa., has eight different dealerships now in western Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio, including some sites that sell multiple brands. The new BMW dealership is located near Preston Mazda on U.S. 224 and Preston Hyundai and Preston Toyota, both on Market Street.