After marking 10 years in business, this store is looking forward to a whole new era in automotive retailing.
Maple Volkswagen recently celebrated a major milestone. 2022 was their 10th year in business, and according to Jim L. Garofalo, General Manager & Managing Partner, the store is number one in Canada in sales volume.
In addition, Garofalo is very proud of the fact that his store has been recognized by Volkswagen Canada with the coveted Wolfsburg Crest Club award for 2023. The honour is bestowed upon dealers who have met Volkswagen’s standards for sales and service excellence. “We have won this award pretty much every year for the past 10 years,” Garofalo says, “except during COVID-19 when Volkswagen put the award on hold.”
Investing in people
Garofalo believes that his store has consistently delivered award-winning service and sales figures because of the quality of the people he has hired. “I think we invested in the right people,” he explains. “We hired the right personalities and we allowed them to develop and grow into their positions in this business.”
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Garofalo and his management team did not recruit staff from within the industry. “I wasn’t big on hiring experienced staff,” he adds. “We felt it would be more advantageous to hire the right personality traits and then teach those people how to do the job.”
That approach has certainly worked over the past decade, and Garofalo says his store has a very low turnover rate. “A lot of our employees have been with us for many years,” he adds.
The next 10 years
As proud as Garofalo is of the past ten years in business, he’s aware that the future will present challenges that everyone in the industry, and not just his VW stores, will need to be able to deal with.
“As we think about the future,” he explains,” one of the biggest challenges and changes is electrification. That’s a whole new era for us, and we’re all going to need to learn about it and understand it as we enter cautiously into this next phase in our industry. We’re also going to need to make sure that we can still operate. It’s going to be an interesting time for our service departments and our parts departments. The elimination of the internal combustion engine is going to be an interesting chapter in everybody’s life in this business.”
Part of the family
Maple Volkswagen is part of the family of dealerships owned by the Zanchin Automotive Group, which includes Martin Grove Volkswagen and Mississauga Volkswagen. Garofalo has partnered with the Zanchin Group on the Maple store, as well as Milton Volkswagen, and says he’s looking forward to growing the VW franchise network by adding another location, hopefully in the near future.
The fact that he has hired well in the past, and has trusted employees in key positions, allows Garofalo to look ahead to possible expansion, knowing that he has the talented and skilled people in place, if and when the opportunity to own and operate another VW location comes to fruition.