The Ebbett Group put on a show to remember in Hamilton on Saturday when over 500 guests gathered to celebrate the grand opening of their state of the art new premises in Te Kowhai East Rd, Te Rapa.
With the staging of an original theatre piece around the 93 year history of the group in the Waikato, featuring a scintillating performance from international best sellers Sol3 Mio, this was a grand opening like no other.
A stalwart of the Waikato, the Ebbett Group has been an icon of central Hamilton since they opened their first premises in Hood St in 1928. They went on to open their landmark dealership on the corner of Hood and Anglesea in 1957, a building that will soon be replaced by the impressive Union Square development.
Their new premises in Te Rapa are more akin to a high-end hotel than your typical car dealership. Polished concrete floors extend throughout the pristine workshops, an abundance of natural light, exposed timbers and luxurious furniture, fixtures and fittings combine to create a relaxing, enjoyable and professional environment.
The 25,000 sqm site hosts Volkswagen, Isuzu, GMSV, Seat and Cupra brands as well as remaining the primary centre for Holden customers in New Zealand.
As managing director, Ben van den Engel (a 50-year veteran of the company), said: "We're only moving once, so we're definitely doing it properly!"
In addition to showrooms, the site features a paint, panel and tyre centre, a photography and video facility, an ultrafast EV charger, a central avenue and workshops that look more like laboratories.
After canapes and drinks, guests took their seats for the show – a musical extravaganza charting the history of the Ebbett Group in the Waikato, written specifically for the event and featuring the beautiful tones of Sol3 Mio.
A lot has happened in the last 93 years. The show started with the founding of the Ebbett Group in 1928 and progressed through depressions, war, recovery, a public listing, growth, contraction, the global financial crisis and finished with their successful navigation of Holden's New Zealand departure and coronavirus in 2020.
It was a rich tale of hard work, opportunism, resilience, service, community and… real life, with all its ups and downs and twists and turns.
Beautifully staged, wonderfully acted and peppered with the class of Sol3 Mio, this was a fantastic performance and really brought home the character of a business that prides itself on its strong values and "Customers for Life" vision.
"I feel quite emotional after watching that," said Ben. "I've been here a long time and seeing our history brought to life in such a vivid manner really brings home to me the joy of the journey we have been on – it really was a wonderful performance.
"It was fantastic to re-live our history but tonight we're here to celebrate the start of our future. It's a night, and a beginning, that I feel humbled to share with many of our longstanding customers, our community and the very special team we have here at Ebbett.
"We are justifiably proud of our past in Hamilton but tonight, even more so, we're excited about our future and delivering for our customers from these wonderful new premises."
It was a fitting tribute to a unique and wonderful night. A creative, uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable evening to celebrate the latest stage of a group with a fantastic history and, no doubt, an equally long and exciting future.