New location for Hammonton Auto Exchange
After nine years at its previous location, Hammonton Auto Exchange has moved to 2 Line St.
Owner Michael Torres said that the relocation was “definitely the right move.”
“With the difference in space and the quality of the facility, we’ve seen an increase in business already just with people coming in here and being in a nice environment,” Torres said.
Torres, a South Jersey native, said that he originally moved to Hammonton more than a decade ago.
“I’ve got a lot friends here and my wife is from this area. We decided to start another car lot; I had one previously in Egg Harbor Twp., and had some health issues, so that went by the wayside. The place on 12th Street became available, so we rented that. That was in 2012,” Torres said.
Torres said that, initially, he was “nervous to move from 12th Street.”
“It’s in the middle of everything, and I did like being there, but very quickly it proved that this was the right move to make. From day one, things have increased. It worked out fabulously. We’re still getting our feet wet and getting everything organized; it was hard moving, after being in one place for almost 10 years. Moving all of our equipment, the cars. Right now, it’s me and a part-time helper, so to get everything here, set up and still maintain our cars and our customers has been a little tough, but, once we get over that hump, we’ll add more people. We do want to expand our services,” Torres said.
Torres said that the increase in business has been noticeable since opening at the new location in the beginning of July.
“It’s amazing the difference dealing with customers coming into this establishment compared to the old. It’s a cleaner atmosphere. The building’s nicer. People seem to be more comfortable. Everything has gotten a whole lot smoother,” Torres said.
Torres said that the amount of first-time customers has increased, as well.
“Previously, most of my business was repeat, referral and the internet. Since I’ve been here, I get more people just wandering in who were driving by; so much more. Over the last two years—because I’ve thought about moving for a while—I’ve been tracking how many cars I sell from people just driving by and stopping in, and it was so little. Here, I have double the people just walking in who were either driving by or are local,” Torres said.
Torres detailed some of the sales services provided by Hammonton Auto Exchange.
“We’re really good at taking mid-priced used cars and re-constituting them so somebody gets a really nice car for not a lot of money. We don’t have real late-models; we don’t have real high-dollar inventory. We will get that occasionally, but most of what we do is buy cars that are affordable to people, and we go over them very well. We safety-check them; anything they need, we do. We back our product. We don’t give aftermarket warranties; we back them ourselves. If a customer has a problem, they come in, they don’t have to deal with a warranty company, deductibles, this, that and the other thing. There’s a lot of aftermarket warranty companies that are not very honorable,” Torres said.
Additionally, Hammonton Auto Exchange is a full-service garage.
“We never pushed it—it’s mostly my customers that come in, people who previously bought cars, people I know, which keeps us pretty busy—but I’m hoping to expand on that, because we have a lot of bays here to fill,” Torres said.
Torres also outlined a potential use for some of the garage bays.
“Maybe we can tile the first couple of bays and make it a nice showroom; that’s what we’re hoping for ... I may use that for display at same point—maybe even change to glass doors—because we do occasionally get some nice stuff, so we can put the fancier stuff in there. Or, if we know a customer’s coming to see a car, we can put it in there,” Torres said.
Additionally, Torres said that he plans to dedicate some of the space in front of the office for customer parking.
“That’s one issue; when people turn down the street, they don’t know where to go—but it’s still easier than parking on 12th Street,” Torres said.
Torres said that moving to their present location will enable Hammonton Auto Exchange to better serve their customers for years to come.
“As scary as it was, it was the right move ... We hope to keep serving the people of Hammonton, keep working on their cars, selling them cars and doing the right thing. We hope to be here for a long time,” Torres said.
For more information, call (609) 517-3779 or visit hammontonauto.com.