Editor’s note: Update reflects Joe Shuster’s revised estimates of the value of the store and its Web address.
The adage that success is about "location, location, location" certainly applies to Honda of Los Angeles. But that was difficult to see three years ago.
The store, which is booming now, was boarded up and in bankruptcy court in 2011.
Combined new- and used-vehicle sales now are running at 300 a month. That's 10 times the best month the store achieved before friends Joe Shuster, Ted Bessen and Sean Wolfington bought the assets from bankruptcy court in October 2011.
Their timing was superb. Since the purchase, downtown Los Angeles around the landmark Staples Center has been reborn.
Thousands of residential units have been built. And foot traffic is a constant wave past the arena, restaurants and the dealership, said Shuster, a New York dealership veteran who nearly passed on the purchase because the area had once seemed so desolate.
But the store's other location -- the online one -- is equally important. Wolfington, who owns digital ad company Tier 10 Marketing, said the store's name is naturally one of the most popular Google search phrases for Honda shoppers in the region.
A Google search with any combination of the words "Honda" and "Los Angeles" invariably shows the store in the top organic position on the search page just below two or three paid ads on the page, Wolfington said.