Photo by Nick Spaeth
SHOP: Imola Motorsports OWNER: Kevin Tan LOCATION: Plymouth, Minn. SIZE: 32,000 square feet
STAFF: 21 (7 technicians, 6 part-time employees, 3 service advisors, 2 detailers, 1 owner, 1 general manager, and 1 parts advisor) ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.4 million
When the owners of the building in Golden Valley, Minn., that Imola Motorsports was leasing decided to use the building for their own purposes in 2013, the shop decided it was time for an upgrade. The current location is twice as big as the old one and the proximity to downtown Minneapolis makes it a perfect fit. The size and modern feel of the shop create a unique experience for customers.
1) Before settling on this location, the Imola team looked at a number of buildings that did not fit its vision for growth. This location, which used to be an old body shop, had enough space for Imola Motorsports’ vision. The white exterior of the shop was painted gray when they moved in, which made the shop pop for potential customers. The building also has a 30-foot LED sign that says “IMOLA” with a red pinstripe that faces a major freeway. The modern industrial look of the shop was achieved by gutting the office area and opening it up into three main sections: lounge, lobby and conference room.
2) Keeping with the modern feel of the shop, the stone and metal circular desk allows easier access for both customers and workers. In the middle of the desk, there is a drop down that mimics the logo—a silver circle with an “i” in the middle. The drop down serves as a branding tool and dampens the echoes caused by the industrial structure of the building.
3) Throughout the shop, there are many creative uses of the logo, including a backlit “i” in the customer lounge. The simple logo has gone a long way in creating a cohesive brand for the store. Since the shop only works on European cars, it was important for everything, including the logo, to have a modern and European feel. Along with using its logo in various ways, Imola also makes the most of its space. The lounge area, which is very large, is made available for groups to use. The Nord Stern Porsche Club and the Minnesota BMW Club have both used the space for events.
4) The bathrooms mimic the feel of the rest of the shop with clean lines, stone and metal fixtures and LED lights. Customers often comment on how nice they are.
5) The shop floor is extremely clean, with white floors that are kept spotless with the use of a mini zamboni. Full detailing services are available and all of the cars are hand washed after service.
6) Keeping the harsh Minnesota winters in mind, Imola allows its customers to drive directly inside the shop in the winter. They also provide seasonal tire storage for customers.
7) Imola has a large display of wheels—from budget-conscious to luxury—that customers can take right up to their cars to see how they look. The staff will help grab the customers’ selections and put them down next to the car.
8) The shop uses a Hunter alignment rack with a flush mount rack, allowing very low cars to drive on the rack without ramps.
9) For racing enthusiasts, Imola provides track support. The Imola emblazoned truck has the ability to haul up to four cars to any track a customer wants to go to. So far, the truck has visited Circuit of the Americas, Brainerd International Raceway and Road America.
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