Ben Catanese is the first to admit that Volkswagen of Salem County, which his family bought in 2011, is "in the middle of nowhere," surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans.
But the setting is OK with Catanese, 36, who believes that as car shoppers do more of their research outside the showroom, a dealership's location becomes less important.
What is important is that the rural location of the Monroeville, N.J., dealership helps the family contain its real estate costs. That freed time and money to focus on building the store's sales to roughly 28 new and 43 used vehicles per month from the 8 to 15 mostly new vehicles per month that the previous owners sold.
Catanese views the dealership's location "as a positive."
"This is a real estate intensive business," he says. "It allows you to be more nimble and a little bit more aggressive when you're not concerned about paying $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 a month in rent. Physically we have a piece of property that will allow us to add dealerships. It made a lot of sense for us."
Moreover, Catanese is working to make the showroom less central to sales. He is a co-founder of GoMoto, a startup that generates sales leads for new-car dealerships by giving consumers at shopping malls test drives in competing brands' new vehicles.