Solar panels and other green technologies, high-speed doors in the service area, a fenced-in dog park with artificial grass and a children’s play room with iPad bar and coloring center are some of the features of the new Dahl Subaru facility at 821 S. Third St. in downtown La Crosse.
Dahl Subaru, part of the Dahl Automotive family of dealerships, opened its state-of-the-art 23,000-square-foot sales and service facility Aug. 7. Its grand opening will be celebrated during the month of October.
Dahl Automotive has been in business since 1911 and today is owned by Harry Dahl and his sons Andrew, Jansen and Tyler – who are the fifth-generation owners.
Andrew is president of Dahl Automotive, which has operations in La Crosse, Onalaska, West Salem and Winona. Dahl offers nine vehicle brands and owns ABRA Auto Body & Glass, the Dahl Auto Museum, LineX Protective Coatings and Clearview Sign.
Dahl Automotive employs about 350 people in the region, including about 35 who work in the new Dahl Subaru building.
The Dahl family has had the local Subaru franchise since 1982.
Before its own new sales and service facility was built, Dahl Subaru shared nearby sales and service facilities with the Dahls’ Mazda and Hundai dealerships, said Tyler Dahl, general manager for the family’s downtown La Crosse campus.
“Guest response (to the new Subaru building) has been extraordinary,” he said. “Every facet of the building was designed with the guest experience in mind.”
High-speed doors allow automobiles to quickly enter and leave the new facility’s service area, which also helps with energy efficiency. Large overhead fans in the service area also help with temperature control.
The children’s play room is near the dealership’s large guest lounge, which offers complimentary coffee, tea, soda pop and fruit.
Nearby are Subaru apparel and accessories (such as bicycle racks) that are for sale, and loaner bicycles that customers can use while their car is being serviced.
There are eight service bays, with built-in tool boxes for technicians. And there’s a climate-controlled celebration bay where customers take delivery of their new or certified pre-owned Subaru.
“We recycle everything we possibly can,” Tyler Dahl said. The building has recycling centers, and a clean-burning waste-oil system provides some of the building’s heat.
“The 351-panel solar array (on the roof) generates roughly 30 percent of the building’s electricity needs, which is equivalent to powering 12 homes for an entire year,” Dahl said.
The new building has interior LED lighting and auto-dimming LED exterior lighting. The building’s green technologies qualify the dealership as a Certified Subaru Eco-Friendly Retailer.
There’s also a fenced-in dog park with artificial grass, for customers who bring their dog along. “It’s amazing how many people bring their dogs with them when they bring in their cars for service,” Tyler Dahl said.
The upper part of the showroom’s east wall is filled with images that show Dahl Automotive’s history, including pictures of Dahl family members through the years. “It’s like a history mural,” Tyler Dahl said.
Dahl Automotive makes major investments in facilities to better serve customers and provide a good place for its employees to work, Andrew Dahl said.
“We also give back to the community,” Tyler Dahl added, through events such as an annual Lube-A-Thon fundraiser for local nonprofit organizations and a dog adoption event held last month at Dahl Subaru.