In the 10 years since he established Muskego Tire & Auto, the affiliated Firestone dealership in Muskego, Wis., Keith Hammitt had a dream: to share his love of America�s automotive heritage with the local community and the public.
As his business expanded beyond the capacity of the original dealership and the community announced plans to widen the road at that location, he saw the opportunity to make his dream come true through a noteworthy architectural achievement.
Now, thanks to Hammitt, his wife and Briohn Building Corp., the dream is a reality in the form of what might be called the first �destination� tire dealership.
Designed to suggest the architecture of automobile-related structures from the early 1920s through the 1950s, the 9,350-sq-ft building is faced with an insulated structural concrete masonry designed to resemble cream city brick � a traditional local building material.
Other exterior details include a corner �tower,� lighted exterior canopies, gooseneck bell lamps and period streetlights.
The 2.5-acre lot includes a retention pond and a specially designed shelter to conceal dumpsters. Landscaping includes an in-ground watering system to service the extensive plantings.
Customers entering the showroom are greeted by a 1933 Chevy Coupe hotrod surrounded by period gas pumps, signage and other items from Hammitt�s collection of period automobile memorabilia.
A spacious and comfortable lounge displays photographs of the many community sports teams which Hammitt, an active community participant, has sponsored.
There are also trophies and memorabilia from the senior softball league that he sponsors. A lighted cabinet displays part of the collection of detailed scale model cars and trucks.
A generously sized service counter eases waiting times for customers, and Hammitt�s office � showcasing his collection of antique auto and truck models � can comfortably accommodate meetings.
The building is a result of a mutually enthusiastic collaboration between Hammitt and Briohn Building Corp., which is responsible for refining the design and also constructing the unique facility.
�I considered four separate companies, but when Briohn President Bob Goehner showed up driving a muscle car, I knew we spoke the same language,� Hammitt says.
Hammitt had been working on the design for years and spent many hours visiting dealerships.