WESLEY CHAPEL — It won't be long before Mini lovers get their dream store.
Crews recently broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot dealership on State Road 56 that will be hallowed ground to those who drive the fun little European cars.
"Wow, I've been hiding under a rock lately! I'm super excited about this," wrote Sammy on Sunshine Minis, a message board for Florida enthusiasts. "The best part is that this new dealership is only five minutes from my house."
The group was circulating a signup sheet for the ground breaking, which featured a free continental breakfast that included Mini muffins and pastries. Some were planning to stop there on the way to a picnic for Mini owners in Ocala.
Set to open this summer, the Wesley Chapel Mini 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 in Tampa as well as two Honda dealerships in Ocala and Gainesville.
Young said 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.
The building, designed by Spring Engineering of Holiday, is done in the international style, with crisp lines. It features a large window on the second floor that will look over State Road 56 and showcase cars.
New Mini inventory will include the: Cooper Hardtop, Cooper S Hardtop, Cooper Convertible, Cooper S Convertible, Cooper Clubman, Cooper S Clubman, Cooper Countryman, Cooper S Countryman, Cooper S Countryman All 4, John Cooper Works Hardtop, John Cooper Works Convertible, and John Cooper Works Clubman.
It also will feature a gift shop that sells T-shirts, key rings, hats, car accessories and all things Mini. Owners also plan to host events for owners of the cars, which have developed a cult-like following.
The only Tampa Bay area Mini dealer now is Ferman Mini on U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor. Others nearest to Pasco are in Orlando and Fort Myers.