Upon stepping into Sarasota Studio, A Division of Dimmitt Automotive Group’s 7000-square-foot showroom on State Street in Sarasota, Florida, one can immediately detect an inviting difference. Rather than a greeting from a receptionist or a tired welcome from one of many sales people, prospective buyers are welcomed by one of two managers, Todd vanHerwynen or Liz Manes. “Instead of walking into a typical car dealership, we want it to be more like coming into someone’s home,” vanHerwynen explains.
The Sarasota Studio is definitely not the average car dealership experience. The expansive show room can hold up to 25 cars comfortably, and its once stark walls have been decorated by one-of-a-kind art from the State of the Arts Gallery across the street. “Our location in the Art District has provided a unique opportunity to collaborate with other businesses like State of the Arts Gallery,” states vanHerwynen. The showroom floor is filled with only the finest luxury and exotic vehicles.
The boutique-style dealership has proven a good fit for the community as well. Residents and other businesses have spoken time and again of the beauty of the cars in the showroom. “These cars are works of art in their own right,” states Manes, vanHerwynen’s counterpart at the dealership. Though cars this prestigious and beautiful could sell themselves, its the Legendary Dimmitt Experience buyers seek.
“The Legendary Dimmitt Experience is a concierge type of experience,” vanHerwynen explains, “In the Sarasota Studio, we focus on a personalized, boutique experience.” Rather than working with a sales person, all potential buyers work with both vanHerwynen and Mains from test drive to delivery. “We want this to feel less like a car transaction and more like visiting with a friend or family member.” By the looks of it, vanHerwynen and Mains have succeeded. Multiple times a day, clients come to the showroom just to have a cup of coffee and catch up. “Just yesterday we had a client come in and have a cup of coffee with us,” vanHerwynen says, “We’ve been invited to BBQs and out to dinner.”
This family style atmosphere is the driving force behind family-owned Dimmitt Automotive Group. Both vanHerwynen and Mains boast of working for a dealership where the CEO knows everyone’s name and is truly interested in their employees. They have both been in the auto industry working for various dealerships since the early 2000’s, but nothing equates to their experience with Dimmitt. “They don’t make you feel replaceable,” Manes explains, “To come to work everyday and know that I’m valued is really important.”
This feeling of value is passed down through Dimmitt employees to their customers, as exhibited in the Sarasota Studio. As vanHerwynen states, “This is so much more than vehicles. It’s about relationships.”