LYNNWOOD — CarMax made its debut in the Puget Sound area with stores opening this week in Lynnwood and Puyallup.
The national used car chain hosted a party Thursday at its Lynnwood dealership at 21317 Highway 99.
“I’m from the Northwest, so the opportunity to bring CarMax as a brand to the community — to be back in the lovely rain — is exciting,” said David Thompson, the Lynnwood general manager who most recently worked for the company in Sacramento, California.
CarMax is a publicly traded company that bills itself as the nation’s largest used auto dealership. About 100 people gathered for the festivities at the Lynnwood store. The company is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.
“We’re thrilled to have these first two stores in the Puget Sound area,” Bill Nash, president and CEO of CarMax. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the community.”
CarMax also plans to open a third store in Renton in the near future.
The Lynnwood lot has about 300 cars and trucks available although Thompson said the company has 50,000 cars and trucks that can be transferred between locations.
The dealership is built on the 9-acre site of the former Detroit Autoworks property. The Lynnwood store is about 20,000 square feet.
CarMax doesn’t disclose the cost of individual dealerships but earlier said new ones typically cost between $10 million to $25 million.
About 70 people will work at the store in Lynnwood, and the two stores will have a combined 200 employees.
The dealership is still looking to fill jobs in several departments. People can apply at http://jobs.carmax.com.
“We’re still growing, which creates a lot of job opportunities for people who are trying to grow a career,” said Catherine Gryp, who works for the company’s public relations office.
Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith, who spoke at the celebration Thursday, said that there are 26 dealerships in her city which support 600 family-wage jobs and provide $2.8 million in sales tax revenue to the city. She said CarMax will attract customers from around the region.
“We know you’re nationally known and respected,” Smith said. “We’re so thrilled that you’re joining our great city.”
CarMax announced Thursday that it was donating $10,000 to nonprofit Junior Achievement of Washington. The company donated another $5,000 to the charities of media personalities who competed against each other in challenges involving parallel parking, packing a trunk and car trivia.
CarMax also said that it would commit $95,000 to build a playground in the Puget Sound area in the coming year in partnership with national nonprofit KaBOOM!