In December 2010, after five years of shopping around, Brad Scott purchased an empty building along an East Providence, R.I., auto row for 20 percent off the asking price.
Seven months later, the refurbished former Ford dealership became the new home of Scott Volkswagen Inc., which enjoyed a banner year in 2011.
Last year, the store's new-vehicle sales increased 75 percent from the previous year to 785, and its used-vehicle sales rose 30 percent to 430. Net profits grew 28 percent to the highest level in more than 60 years.
Scott attributes the store's success to great Volkswagen products, key personnel changes, a rising overall market and, of course, a new dealership.
"We had outgrown our old location. Space was becoming more of an issue every day," says Scott, a third-generation scion of a dealer family. His father, William Scott, is the dealer principal. "I told my father that if this is something I'm going to do every day, we're going to have to grow. This is a big step in that growth, and we plan to continue growing."
The year-old store includes a seven-vehicle new-car showroom. Its 16-bay service department accepts vehicles for service on a same-day basis. Three of the bays are dedicated to no-appointment oil changes.
The previous store's showroom held "three or four" vehicles, Scott says. Oil-change and other customers often waited up to a week for appointments in the 10-bay service department.
At the suggestion of Scott's sister, Kim Scott-Weiss, director of human resources and customer service at the store, newspapers and magazines were removed from the waiting room. The dealership purchased five iPads, which it hands out to customers who inquire about reading materials.
Scott credits his employees with the dealership's success. Last September, he promoted to general sales manager a salesperson who is skilled at developing, coaching and motivating the sales team.
-- Arlena Sawyers