Company Name: Clay Family Dealerships
Project: Clay Hyundai design/build 

The Clay Family Dealerships have been dedicated to providing dependable and professional service since 1949, and have been proud automotive leaders in the community for three generations.

Today, the dealerships consist of five locations all run by Clay family members: Clay Chevrolet, Clay Subaru, Clay Hyundai, Clay Nissan of Newton, and Clay Nissan of Norwood.


Business Concern

For this particular project, Clay needed to update Clay Hyundai with the prototype required by the manufacturer, but do so cost-effectively since they had a tight budget for the design/build. A design/build was the best route because:

  • It takes an open, non-adversarial team approach
  • Project budget is determined and controlled by the owner
  • Single source responsibility for design and construction
  • Lower risk for the owner and the builder
  • Less time commitment for the owner
  • Project can be “fast-tracked”
  • Lowest design costs
  • Minimizes change orders

They needed a contractor with a proven track record that could execute all of the updated design requirements by Hyundai, but within a budget that made sense to the Clay family — which meant eliminating or de-emphasizing features that do not add value. Ideally, they wanted to build a relationship with a partner they could trust to always present the best options.


Experience & Results With NEC

New England Construction won the bid for the project in 2010 and was able to deliver in a way that satisfied Clay and built trust. Here’s how:

We supported their budget.

During preconstruction, we went out to the market and got real numbers that made the most financial sense for Clay’s budget.

At NEC, conceptual budgeting is always the linchpin in the pre-planning process, since various parties rely on the successful and timely completion of the projects we work on. We ensure quality and safety through a valuable constructability perspective, which allows for the creation of a master schedule to meet short- and long term goals. It’s the construction partner’s job to determine whether project goals are attainable within the allotted budget and timeline — and that’s exactly what we provided for Clay.

We were flexible.

Since we had to execute Clay Hyundai’s design-build on an allocated budget and not interrupt the active business, the best solution was to build the showroom in a half by half process. Allowing for business as usual in a safe manner required resourcefulness and effective planning, both of which our team has exhibited for a number of projects in the past.

We met the prototype plans cost-effectively.

In order to adhere to Clay’s budget and Hyundai’s requirements, we used the prototype creatively to deliver the best design possible. Because we were able to figure out how to make everything work financially without overlooking any guidelines set by the manufacturer, Clay could count on our expertise and present confidently to Hyundai.

“We are diligent with our clients’ money and make decisions with the question of ‘What makes financial sense for our clients?’ in mind. We think of it like we’re spending out of our own pocket. That’s how to become a trusted partner.”
-Matt Sluter, President, New England Construction


NEC directly impacted Clay’s bottom line, making the project more affordable and delivering it on time and with the quality they needed.

Since NEC was able to build with Clay’s budget and best interest in mind, we became their trusted go-to for prototype updates and were awarded repeat projects for additional Clay dealerships. We completed the renovation for Clay Nissan in the summer of 2013 as well, using the same half by half process (ensuring BAU). Clay Subaru is currently in the works, solidifying a partnership that has been built with trust, proven success, and mutual respect between the Clay and NEC families.

NEC’s ability to communicate and provide transparency throughout the project forged a solid relationship with Clay. Our business was not just general contracting; from concept to completion, we positioned ourselves in a way that we were the first ones that Clay would call — a true partner in the process.

"Time, money, and quality are Clay's top priorities when making any updates to dealerships — and by partnering with NEC we were able to see our expectations met and exceeded by their hands on, team based approach to our projects. Their honest communication and focus on our goals built trust, as did their ability to complete the work within the allotted budget and timeline. NEC’s leadership and ability to manage the entire project process including: design, permitting, and ultimately construction allows the Clay dealerships to do what we do best, sell cars!"
-Jim Sarno, CFO, Clay Family Dealerships

For automotive dealers, it’s all about aligning with the right construction partner that knows how to deliver this type of prototype renovation work that the auto brands require. NEC’s effective communications with Clay — for instance, NEC President, Matt Sluter, acting as the Senior Project Manager — enabled the alignment and buy-in to NEC’s expert recommendations. Clay relied on us for a budget that really made sense, and we helped them financially afford what’s required by the manufacturer.

Clay counted on our expertise because at the end of the day, their business is selling cars and ours is construction; they trusted that we knew what we were doing and the results proved that correct.

“I enjoy making an impact on small businesses because I like knowing that we are affecting their bottom line. We get it and it’s important to us; we’re a family business, too.”
-Matt Sluter, President, New England Construction

If your auto dealership is looking to build a lasting relationship with a trusted partner, let a dedicated member of the NEC team guide you in your best direction!

Request a call with our team