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Diamond International gets big-rig ready with new Brooks Road dealership

From The Commercial Appeal

By Wayne Risher Posted February 9, 2010

Diamond International's $6 million investment in the Brooks Road corridor was on full display Monday.

The International truck dealer celebrated completion of a campus for big-rig sales, repair and service that includes the former Chuck Hutton Toyota dealership at Brooks and Millbranch.

The project is a milestone both for Diamond and for efforts to redevelop some of the airport area's rough edges.

 Sales personnel operate out of a renovated automobile showroom, while service and repair departments use updated bays from Hutton and the former International dealership at 1750 E. Brooks.

Richard "Dick'' Sweebe, president and CEO of Diamond Companies, said service and support personnel have taken advantage of upgraded facilities by adopting Lean continuous improvement practices, focusing resources to create value for customers.

"I'm pleased to say, we have developed new methods to serve customers more accurately andquickly," he said.

Diamond has a new accelerated service offering in which technicians pinpoint problems and estimate repair times within two hours.

The expansion was planned by Renaissance Group architects and executed by Grinder, Taber & Grinder contractors.

Renovation of the auto dealership was completed last summer, when work shifted to the 37-year-old sales and service center next door.

"It's just a complete transformation, well needed in the neighborhood. Something that's a little bit of a light in the middle of that area," said Sal Feraci of Renaissance.

The redevelopment pleases boosters of Memphis International Airport and nearby area referred to as the "Airport City."

Jim Covington, vice president of logistics and Aerotropolis for the Greater Memphis Chamber, said, "This is a huge step in the direction of what we have always thought the aerotropolis would be doing for us, that is, encouraging development and changing things along the way."

Larry Jensen, commercial Realtor and chairman of a chamber airport corridors committee, added, "As a community we've allowed the area around (the airport) to deteriorate. When you see somebody investing $6 million, I say, 'Hooray!' Anything that's reasonable and adds to the improvement along that corridor is great." --

Wayne Risher: 529-2874

Diamond Companies Headquarters: 1940 E. Brooks

Holdings: Diamond International, Diamond Idealease and Diamond State Bus

Company Locations: 16 facilities in Memphis, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas

Employees: About 600

Owner: Richard "Dick'' Sweebe, president and CEO

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