THE CHRONICLE JOURNAL
A relationship that began four decades ago when Ron Marostica signed on with a fledgling Japanese automobile company has entered a new era.
On Monday, Marostica Subaru celebrated the official opening of their new state-of-the-art building at 16th Avenue, a significant upgrade on their Central Avenue location.
“Subaru has grown so much in the last 20 years that we outgrew that facility,” Marostica Subaru president Ron Marostica said in an interview. “Subaru needed this facility to be built for them here in Thunder Bay. They deserve it. They’re a great company in Canada.”
The two-storey building off the Harbour Expressway near Intercity mall opened last November. An all-glass facade allows natural light to filter in and provides passive solar heat. There is in-floor heating across the expanded showroom and other areas of the main floor.
“It’s very environmentally friendly,” Marostica said. “Customers like coming into a nice-looking building that’s clean, very pretty and very inviting.”
At 11,000 square feet, the new location is double the size of the old building and boasts a larger lot for new and used vehicles.
The service bays have gone from four to nine. The service area, as well, is partitioned with glass.
“We’re the only facility in town that, if someone wanted to, they can sit outside the window and watch their car being worked on by licensed technicians,” Marostica said.
The project took nearly two years to complete and cost $4.5 million.
“It was a great big economic impact to the city,” Marostica noted.
The striking modern look was designed by H. Bradford Green Architect Inc. The general contractor was Tom Jones Corp.
Monday’s grand opening featured executives from Subaru Canada, including president and CEO Yasushi Enami. Don Durst, senior vice-president of operations for Subaru Canada, praised Marostica’s contributions to the company’s success. When Subaru entered the Canadian market in 1978, Marostica was one of seven original dealerships.
“The history goes from that one dealership to now, where we have 95 dealerships (nationally), from selling 300 to 400 cars a month to now selling five or six thousand a month — 60,000 cars a year,” Durst said. “And Thunder Bay has been a key contributor to that market.”
As the only Subaru dealer between Winnipeg and North Bay, Thunder Bay is a critical location for customers travelling across Canada. The new building offers eye-catching features, but Durst is more impressed with the tone it sets when customers walk through the doors.
“To me it’s not about the brick and mortar,” he said. “It’s much more about the people and the enviroment that it creates where you feel welcomed.”
Since moving to the new premises, staffing has increased to 22 employees.
Marostica also announced that his brother, Jim Marostica, the general manager, and son Kevin, the sales manager, will soon be coming on board as partners.
The old location on Central Avenue is being used by Marostica’s other business, the Used Car Superstore. He says the former Greyhound bus terminal on Fort William Road is being renovated and Used Car Superstore will move its operation there at the end of August.