Expanding Our Defender Import + Restoration Family to Small Town Minnesota
We are excited to announce the expansion of Bishop+Rook to the small town of Renville, MN, where Gary and Larry Eckhoff operated H&L Motors for 45 years – proudly selling and servicing General Motors vehicles for the surrounding community. When the brothers decided to retire last year, the 10,000 square foot location became available.
With increasing requirements on GM dealerships across the nation to conform to strict guidelines handed down by corporate management, it has become difficult for many of these small town operations to survive with growing competition from larger metropolitan dealerships and internet sales. The H&L Motors building changed hands, but the new owners decided to go a different direction after just a few months – essentially locking the doors one afternoon and shuttering the dealership and service business.
With many small towns struggling to attract and retain successful businesses in their communities, there was a strong possibility of the building in Renville sitting empty for a long time. A traditional dealership or service center may have had a difficult time supporting their business in a town of just under 1,200 people, but we saw it as an opportunity to re-invest in a community that had welcomed us with open arms.
We believe in small town work ethic and community. When we started the company we had a vision to open operations in rural communities as a means to attract hard working talent, help rebuild shrinking small towns, and ensure we can keep vintage Defenders affordable for everyone. During our early exploration for a Bishop+Rook expansion location, we looked at several rural communities across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
It was clear right away that the folks in Renville were going to be friendly, welcoming, and hard working. After hearing of our early interest, the City Administrator and County Economic Development Managers phoned us immediately to offer their assistance with anything we needed. It became clear where we would find our new home.
Not only did we find a perfect building, but also a friendly and supportive community surrounding it. The building became a turn-key option for us, as the previous owners generously offered to sell the building and equipment as a package.
The new Bishop+Rook Renville facility will feature a showroom, administrative offices, two large workshop areas with 6 lifts, alignment pit, 5,000 square feet of storage, and plenty of outdoor parking. There’s even a little cottage on the lot, which formerly served a dog groomer and pottery studio – we may turn into something fun (once we actually look inside).
We plan to keep our Minneapolis office and design studio/showroom, making it easy for people to fly in and visit us, before heading out to see our expanded Renville operations.
This expansion will give us the space to work in more trucks, take on more interesting projects, build a proper paint booth, offer LS swaps, and keep a larger inventory of Defenders available. We’re also planning on growing our product portfolio, including accessories, parts, and interior re-trim kits. Wish us luck over the next couple of weeks as we start to move into the new building and get to know the local community.
And for those in Renville and the surrounding areas, we’re Bishop+Rook – we restore vintage Land Rover Defenders we import from the UK, Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, and various other far off corners of the world. Here’s a sample of some of our projects below. In the coming months we will be looking to expand our team in Renville, including mechanics, electrical, service, bodywork, and more (both full-time and project based). Drop us a note and we will keep you updated.