SHERBROOKE, QUE. – After more than 25 years at the helm of BMW Suprem de Sherbrooke, Pierre Simoneau has sold his store and called it a career.
Bought by the Groupe Park Avenue automobile consortium for an undisclosed sum, the deal was made official at an event in late January.
Norman Hébert, president and CEO of Groupe Park Avenue and longtime business acquaintance of Simoneau, said he was happy his friend placed his trust in Groupe Park Avenue to ensure the continuity of the business.
“When we talked about purchasing the dealership, the decision was easy as the dealership has already built existing loyalty among its clientele through the numerous efforts of the Suprem team, and several opportunities still exist in the Estrie region,” Hébert said.
“For us, Estrie is a natural extension for our businesses, and Sherbrooke is an ideal location for our operations.”
The Groupe Park Avenue dealer group now has 20 dealerships and employs nearly 650 people.
The organization has operated two BMW dealerships for over 26 years.
And with the new ownership comes a new name, as BMW Suprem will now be called BMW Sherbrooke.
“It's a strategic approach of the manufacturer,” Hébert explained. “The name associated with the city will enable our current and future clientele to find us more easily online, as well as on social media.”
Executive V-P Yves Le Bolloch will be in charge of operations. Reporting directly to Le Bolloch will be sales manager Luc Dumas, service manager Jean-Paul Lachance, and parts manager Christian Bibeau – each of whom worked in those roles prior to the sale.
“We want to make the Groupe Park Avenue experience come alive for our clients and we are counting on offering them a welcoming environment where our clients can, in a single place, enjoy a cup of coffee, read a newspaper or work from a distance, while we take care of all their automobile needs,” Le Bollock said.
Sales targets for this year have been pegged at 250 new vehicles and 150 used.
Hebert said the store was working on a new marketing plan to be launched in March. It would feature, among other initiatives, sponsoring community events and a TV presence to take advantage of the area’s low TV ad rates.
The dealership itself, it would be taking on a new look as it welcomes the automaker’s Future Retail concept.
“It’s a new approach. But it’s been in the market in the U.K. for some time and it’s working quite well there. So we are looking forward to it.”
As for the cost of acquisition, he said the price tag was nearly $10 million, including some of the first year capital expenditures.
Hebert said Groupe Park Avenue had not put away its cheque book and is eyeing a number of opportunities in 2015. He would not say more.