Two Med City car dealerships have a new Rochester family behind the wheel following a deal that closed this week.
Todd Penz and his father, Dan Penz, acquired the Lupient Buick GMC and Lupient Nissan dealerships from the Twin Cities-based Lupient Automotive Group. The dealerships stand side-by-side on Rochester's "Car Row" along US 52 North.
The Penzes, who also own the Subaru of Rochester dealership, are re-naming the dealerships as Buick GMC of Rochester and Nissan of Rochester. Rochester Realtor Merl Groteboer helped facilitate the deal.
No financial details of the transaction were disclosed.
Todd Penz and Director of Operations Isaac Peterson said Thursday that they will keep the 50 employees of the dealerships on staff, so customers will still see their favorite sales representative or service mechanic.
After splitting the Subaru brand off of Clements Chevrolet Cadillac and launching a new dealership in south Rochester in 2017, what drove the Penzes to add these two dealerships to their portfolio?
"They are three great brands, and I can't beat the location," said Todd Penz. "We have the very popular Subuaru brand, and now we have a truck brand with GMC. With Nissan, we've added electric cars to the mix. Our selection encompasses all the types of vehicles."
Peterson said they plan to expand the offerings of certified pre-owned vehicles as well as eventually ramping up new vehicle offerings at the dealerships. The service center will also be adjusted to be more efficient.
"You shouldn't have to be here three hours to get an oil change," he said.
Some remodeling and reorganizing will be the first differences customers will see, Peterson said of the transition.
"We'll be opening things up and eliminating clutter," he said.
Following the example of retailers like Target, Walmart and Menards, the Penzes will book-end the city with dealerships in an effort to reach more buyers.
"Now we have a south dealership and a north dealership," Todd Penz said.
When the dust settles in January and a grand re-opening is held, Peterson said the big changes will be in customer experience and community involvement. That will include modernizing and making the process of buying a vehicle more efficient.
"We operate digitally. The days of doing a proposal with a Sharpie marker shouldn't happen when we have iPads and laptops," he said.
Another change will come from having a Rochester family with deep local ties take control versus being owned by someone in the Twin Cities. Penz says he will be available locally every day to make direct decisions.
"And one of the biggest changes people will see is that we plan to be community facing... We plan to be giving back to the community to be more part of the community rather than just being an entity that operates in the community," added Peterson.
Todd Penz said it all boils down to culture and making customers happy.
"Customers will feel a big, big difference stepping in the door. Buying a car is a fun process, and customers should enjoy it," he said.