Make us your home page

Pasco enthusiasts welcome Tampa Bay area's second MINI dealership

WESLEY CHAPEL — They call it "the jewel box."

On the second floor of the two-story building, the bay window will do more than add a unique element to the design of the new MINI auto dealership on State Road 56.

It will serve as a place to show off the latest car, 24/7.

"The spotlight on it will really make the car pop," said Malcolm Cheek, general manager of the dealership set to open by the end of March. "It'll be the second one in the country. The other one is in Madison, Wisconsin."

A huge platform on chains raises the car to the spot on the second floor of the seven-car showroom, which, with comfy lounges, Wi-Fi and a boutique, seems more like a hangout than a place to buy a roadster, coupe or a small four-door sedan.

"We want this place to be an experience," said Cheek.

MINI owners are a different breed than other car owners, with clubs and social events for fans of the fun little European cars that used to be known as Mini Coopers. These drivers are known to gobble up merchandise that includes not only car gear, but throw pillows, dog leashes and T-shirts.

"A lot of owners say they can't get accessories," said Cheek. "We're going to have as many as possible right here."

MINI owners have been very enthusiastic about the soon-to-open dealership, which will be the second in the Tampa Bay area. One member of the Sunshine Minis group even posted a video of Wesley Chapel MINI's ground breaking ceremony last year.

The closest dealer now is Ferman on U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor. Others nearest to Pasco are in Orlando and Fort Myers.

The Wesley Chapel dealership already has been the site of club meetings and hosted owners for a breakfast on the way to a state MINI picnic in Ocala.

The dealership is being built by businessman Victor Young, a BMW dealer who in February opened a Lamborghini dealership in Sarasota; and partner Larry Morgan, who owns Toyota of Tampa Bay on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa as well as two Honda dealerships in Ocala and Gainesville.

Young said in 2010 that the pair picked Wesley Chapel after market studies showed more than 2,000 MINI owners lived in an area that stretched from central Pasco to Brandon.

Cheek said he has already talked to one owner who was considering replacing her MINI with another make of car but changed her mind when she learned she would be able to have her car serviced much closer to home.

"Service won't have to be an all-day affair," Cheek said.

The dealership features bays with tile that looks like brick pavers and black and gray walls. The ceiling shows off the duct work and lights, a reflection of MINI's open industrial design.

An alignment machine is the latest technology that can diagnose a problem in three minutes. Most machines take about 15, Cheek said.

Customers can choose from three lounges, including one with no television.

"That's the quiet room," Cheek said. "For people who really want to get their work done."

By the numbers

23 Number of new jobs that will be created when MINI of Wesley Chapel opens its doors.

37 Miles per gallon of gasoline the typical MINI gets.

130 Total cars that can fit on the Wesley Chapel lot.

30 Approximate miles to the nearest MINI dealer in Palm Harbor.

MINI of Wesley Chapel, 26645 State Road 56, will hold its ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. April 10. A grand opening celebration is planned for June 2.

Source: MINI of Wesley Chapel

Pasco enthusiasts welcome Tampa Bay area's second MINI dealership 03/02/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 9:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  2. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  3. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Ford's Garage opens new Westchase spot


    Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week.

    hillsevbiz081817: Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week. Photo courtesy of Ford's Garage
  5. Carls Patio celebrates great outdoor furnishings in Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — While many northerners are shoveling snow, Floridians are lounging poolside in the middle of winter.

    hillsevbiz081817: After selling outdoor and patio furniture in locations in South Florida since 1993, Carls Patio has opened its first store to open in the Tampa Bay area and there are plans for more. Photo courtesy of Carls Patio.