Commercial Progress Report

Supersize It

by Patrick Flanagan

Moss Motors' sleek new Superstore near the airport is a $1.8 million investment.

A first-class used car dealership unlike any other in the state of Louisiana is under way in Lafayette. Moss Motors Superstore of Used Cars broke ground this summer on Highway 90 near the Lafayette Regional Airport, and is on target to open by April 2013. "It's a whole new concept in used cars," says Sharon Moss, dealer/president of Moss Motors Inc. "It's going to be a superstore of used cars. There's nothing like it in the state of Louisiana."

Sharon Moss / Photo by Robin May

Moss Motors Superstore is a $1.8 million project sprawling over four acres leased from the Lafayette Airport Commission. Fronting the business is a 4,350-square-foot sales building with an outdoor delivery area. "When you come to pick up your new car, it will be waiting for you in the delivery area," Moss explains.

Inside the main building will be a lounge area for customers with a refrigerator filled with complimentary soft drinks and a flat-screen television set. "It's just like a new car facility; the only difference is we are going to be marketing used cars," Moss says. "It's going to be very upscale."

Behind the sales building is a 2,100-square-foot detail department. "We will need a huge area to stage the cars to get all of the kinks out of them and make them like new," she says.

Designed by architect Kirby P├ęcot and built by contractor JB Mouton and Sons, Moss Motors Superstore will be a totally modern facility featuring stucco, silver accents, high ceilings and lots of glass. The used car facility's sleek look will be comparable to the new car dealership's location at 1407 Surrey St., in Lafayette. "Kirby and Popie Billeaud of JB Mouton have done every building, every project I've ever done," Moss says.

The inventory lot is large enough to accommodate up to 400 used cars, and will feature all available makes and models. Moss's son, Coury Moss, who is involved in the wholesale used car business, is currently stockpiling cars for the Superstore. "If you are looking for a used car, you are going to come here," Moss says. "We'll offer everything. It's one-stop shopping, convenient and easy. Our inventory will carry everything from a used Maserati down to a $2,000 entry-level car for your first-time driver. Every brand will be there - Lexus, Infiniti, Porsche - you name it, it will be there."

Additionally, customers will be able to access Moss Motors Superstore's used car inventory online. Moss's new car dealership has experienced tremendous success with its Internet business. "We are doing a huge amount of business on the Internet right now," Moss reports. "About one-third of all of the income that Moss Motors brings in is from Internet sales. We are selling to people in Montana, all over; I'm amazed."

Moss Motors is consolidating all of its used car inventory by closing its Select locations on Johnston Street and at the airport. Management and staff for those stores will move to the Superstore location. Moss says, "Moving everything to one place will make it easier and more efficient to operate."

The used car superstore will have enough office space to accommodate 16 salespeople and management with room to grow. "We'll be doubling personnel, because we expect our business to increase substantially," Moss projects.

Founded in 1979 by the late William "Billy-Jack" Moss, Moss Motors began with Honda, adding BMW in 1980 and Mercedez-Benz in 1981. From its initial staff of 30, Moss Motors has grown to more than 144 employees. After Billy-Jack's death in 1989, his wife, Sharon, took over the business. Under Sharon's leadership, Moss Motors has grown to the 12th largest dealership in Louisiana out of 400 statewide.

Moss says that the new superstore will be a one-stop used car shopping experience for consumers. "The thing that I see is customers wanting a hassle-free experience," she observes. "They've already done their research online. Within an hour of going online, you will get a call from a salesperson. You will come in, know that the car is there, and will have already talked to one of our salespeople. The car that you're interested in will be sitting there waiting for you to look at and drive.

"Everything is about being quick and easy for the customer. People don't want to spend a whole day looking at cars. Everything will be at one location. It's going to be sort of like a huge department store, but with only cars. It's going to be great."