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Porsche Centre North Toronto

The Start: Porsche Centre North Toronto

Written by Trackworthy (https://www.wheels.ca/trackworthy/)

When John Cappella, Managing Director, was growing up in Toronto, the lot at 165 Yorkland Boulevard where PCNT’s ultra-modern edifice now stands was a far cry from what it is today. “This site used to be a parking lot,” Cappella recalls. “In fact, I actually learned how to ride a motorcycle in the parking lot that used to be on this lot many, many years ago.”

During his tenure as Director, Network Development for Porsche Cars Canada, Cappella identified Toronto, with its growing population and booming Porsche sales volume, as an ideal location for a new dealership.  Soon after, he was tapped to lead the ambitious project: select the site, develop it, staff it up, and manage it.

The 165 Yorkland site was chosen for its ideal location to serve clients throughout the North Toronto and surrounding area.  It sits at the intersection of Toronto’s Highway 401 (East-West) and Highway 404 (North-South). “It was the first property we looked at for the project, and the last property we looked at for the project, as we knew it was the perfect location for Porsche Centre North Toronto,” Cappella explains.

Like most entrepreneurial endeavors, the development of PCNT had some humble beginnings. After years of planning and permitting, construction began, and John rented a small office space on the fourteenth floor of an adjacent building to serve as a temporary office for the duration of the construction project. Over the course of the sixteen-month construction period, John onboarded over forty people, fifteen of whom worked in the temporary office.  Understandably, the location and size of the temporary office made for a challenging sales environment, but it was one that ended up helping to forge the close-knit relationships and strong team spirit through which the dealership operates so successfully today.

“It wasn’t your typical dealership,” recalls Adriano Bernaudo, PCNT’s Marketing Manager.  “We were all new, fresh faces… in a temporary office on the fourteenth floor without a showroom.”

One of PCNT’s first sales executives, Victor Emilov, describes his emotions on his first day at the temporary location: “So here we are: first day, walking in, suit is ready, tie is crisp, and I observe my surroundings,” Emilov reminisces, “It was not something I was expecting.” Coming from another premium brand in Toronto, Emilov’s expectations for aesthetic were quite high.

Although that temporary location lacked a showroom and most of the other creature comforts that today’s magnificent complex boasts, John and his hand-picked team were still able to attract new customers and sell.  “Essentially, we all came together as a team, and we started to bond as a team… and we had customers come and pre-order their first Porsches there,” recalls Bernaudo.

Despite the small, temporary sales office – or, perhaps, because of it—the construction period proved to be a formative time for PCNT’s team, full of hopes, dreams, sweat, and anticipation. “It was a lot of fun [and]… a great opportunity for us… to bond and get to know one another…” admitted Emilov.  “This was our new family to be, so it was a great opportunity to share some experiences, learn together, grow together, and become that much stronger,” Emilov continues. “It’s made us who we are today and certainly makes us appreciate where we are today.”

The construction project was not without challenges. The group had to battle record rainfall, flooding, and address the various new resultant challenges. But, the team buckled down and persevered: “We were Eager to open,” explains Capella, “so we worked very, very hard to solve those problems… to get the project open as quickly as we could.”

At approximately three P.M. on July 28, 2017, John and his team reached a momentous milestone. Sixteen months from when construction began, PCNT received its occupancy permit for the new space. Fueled by excitement and adrenaline, the team wasted no time. In a manner characteristic of the team spirit that PCNT’s employees embrace, all hands mustered to ready the facility for opening the very next day.

“Our first day was incredibly exciting… the entire team pitched in to wash all of the cars that we had in inventory and start setting up all of our systems and processes to open up the very next day,” Cappella recalls. “We had four cars in our inventory… and we actually ended up selling four cars on that very first day.”

That day, the PCNT team bore witness to the culmination of years of planning and work finally coming together exactly as intended: “Looking around that day, we certainly felt a great sense of pride that this amazing project had been completed … it truly did meet our expectations in terms of what we wanted from this dealership.”

Today, the PCNT dealership is an ultra-modern facility, boasting an extensive selection of new, pre-owned and classic Porsches. “We’ve been fortunate to see quite a few amazing cars come through the facility,” explains Capella, referencing examples like the 918 Spider, a multitude of rare, limited edition 911s, and a magnificent black-on-black 1986 930 Turbo that sat next to us on the showroom floor during this interview.

Moreover, PCNT houses an impressive, state-of-the-art service area, featuring seventeen spotless service bays. Like a well-maintained navy vessel, the entire service area is completely scrubbed every night. The dealership’s design incorporates a wide window into the service area much like the kitchen view one might experience at a Michelin Star restaurant. Customers can enjoy a beverage from the Carrera Café while witnessing the technicians meticulously at work.

Most notable, however, beyond the impressive showroom, inventory and service department, is the team at PCNT. John leads by example. He is not the type of person who hides behind his desk with his door closed. Rather, no matter the time or occasion, you will likely notice John out on the floor, talking to customers, making sure the property is operating at peak levels. John’s leadership ripples down through his team. From managers to sales executives, technicians to receptionists, PCNT’s staff is warm, professional, available, personable, and knowledgeable.  “Many people have asked me: what makes us so unique? It’s our people,” John explains.  “We have put together a diverse and passionate group of people that together have decades of experience and are able to adapt to the fast-changing retail automotive landscape.”

The incredible success of PCNT’s opening day proved to portend great prosperity for the year to follow. “While there was no shortage of obstacles, the end result has been great success,” admits Cappella. PCNT recently delivered its one-thousandth new Porsche and exceeded all of its expectations for the 2018. On February 6, 2019 PCNT was awarded the prestigious Premier Dealer Award. 

Full article and video here: https://www.wheels.ca/trackworthy-blogs/porsche-centre-north-toronto-an-exemplary-dealership-experience/

Date Posted: February 12, 2019