Employees at Richmond Hill Subaru were left a little bit “teary-eyed” when demolition crews laid waste to their long-time dealership this month, but after a few short seconds they quickly snapped out of it – the
future is going to be bigger and brighter.
And it’s going to be bigger and brighter all in the name of customer service, according to General Manager Scott Pearl. For the next eight months or so, Richmond Hill Subaru will be in much closer quarters adjacent to their former home. When their new dealership is complete, however, it will drive home their philosophy that “customer is king and they have to come first.”
“The building we had previously had a very, very shabby customer waiting area for service customers,” says Pearl. “We had a very limited amount of space in our showroom. We could only really accommodate four cars comfortably. We’re going to double that in the new facility and have eight vehicles in our showroom, or maybe nine or 10 in a pinch.
“We will also have a service drive-thru reception, which we did not have previously, where the customer can drive their car in and get out of the cold and wind into a nice, warm environment and check their car in for service. We’ll have a nice fireplace in the waiting area for customers, and customers will have the ability to see out there into the shop and see their cars being worked on. For our employees too, it is a huge improvement over what they worked in previously.”
The building, which was over 40 years old, was particularly “tired”, he said. The washrooms were “terrible”, it had been patched and sewn up over the years and in this past winter’s ice storm, part of the roof of the service area collapsed and they had to rebuild it just to get them through the summer.
“It was a ‘hang on to the bitter end’ kind of a thing,” explains Pearl. “[New Roads President and CEO] Michael Croxon bought the dealership seven years ago and in probably five of those seven years he has been working on getting the permit and everything in place so we could build a proper facility. It was never really an adequate facility, but I guess in the early days Subaru’s volume was very small and they were only selling a couple of cars per year. Now, it is a different story. This year, we deliver 1,000 or 1,100 cars, new and used combined, so that is a big change. You need to have a facility that can manage that.”
But, that new facility is still a few months away and, in the meantime, the employees are banding together in the spirit of camaraderie, making do with a little less elbow room while keeping in mind the brand new dealership that they will soon call home.
“Being able to drive into a nice, warm area and check your car in for service means a lot to our customers, I think, and it means a lot to our employees too because the building will allow them to do a better job for our customers,” says Pearl. “There were some employees that were a little teary-eyed when the excavator started crushing the front of the building, but that was only from a sentimental point of view for every one of us who complained relentlessly about having to be in that old facility.
“When you start there when you are 16 or 17 and you work in a place for 15 years, there is some sentimental attachment but, at the end of the day, once that moment was over, everyone got excited about moving forward and that is what it is all about.”
Written by Brock Weir