Not Your "Average" Car Dealership
Anthony Fongaro | August 2015
Businesses come and go all the time, and the space one business occupies could be completely different when the new owners move in. Back in 2012, a high-end furniture store closed down in Lake Zurich, Illinois, and the new owner had some ambitious plans. Instead of selling furniture, electronics, or vintage memorabilia, this beautiful two-story building with flowing staircases and a vintage birdcage-style elevator was set to become…a used car dealership.
At first, it sounded like a strange idea. Why would you want to have a car dealership inside of an old furniture store? Well, Ben Ripstein, owner of Midwest Motors, was betting on the unique location - combined with an upscale, yet personable buying experience - to win over potential buyers.
Midwest Motors grew so large since its opening in 2009, that by 2012, they had to find a new location outside of their Volo, Illinois building and landed in Lake Zurich. I was just happy that my hometown would finally have a car dealership, but when I read the list of cars Midwest Motors were selling, I couldn't wait for them to open. This dealership would have BMW M, Mercedes-Benz AMG, Porsche, McLaren, Ferrari, and other very high-end cars.
But browse their website, and you'll see something unexpected - a Mini Cooper for around $19,000. Not only did Midwest Motors have high-end exotica out of the reach of mere mortals, they also had cars that the average Joe could afford. This isn't your typical car dealership.
When Midwest Motors first opened its doors, the transformation from furniture store to car dealership was immediately apparent. You walk in and instantly see a beautiful chandelier bathing one or two exquisite cars in soft light. Cars are lined up along the walls of the showroom floor the same way paintings are displayed in a gallery.
Take the existing bird-cage elevator upstairs and you are surrounded with images of exotic cars, along with three separate sitting areas, pool tables, and even a little putting green! If downstairs feels like a gallery, upstairs feels like you're in a lounge. All of this is in a used car dealership!
The atmosphere inside is very calm and stress-free. This is achieved by having the cars as the center of attention, not the salesmen. Not only are their offices on the second floor and away from the "lounge areas", the negative stereotypes of car salesman (especially used car salesmen) is virtually non-existent.
Even though Midwest Motors has Italian and British supercars, their average inventory is around the $40,000-$50,000 mark, but they have a good selection of less-expensive vehicles. At first, none of the cars were ever outside. But since their inventory has grown so much, they now have to leave a few vehicles outside (basically the under $35,000 crowd).
Can't find the car you're looking for? No problem! Midwest Motors actually has a vehicle-finding service to find basically any car you desire. Along with this, they have an in-house vehicle service and detail center.
The most refreshing part about Midwest Motors is that whatever car and price range you're looking at, the staff treat you the same. To them, a $25,000 Honda garners the same respect and time as a $300,000 McLaren. They take the time to only sell cars with clean CarFax histories and have an in-house photo booth so you see the cars as they are without using any corrective software to doctor their photos.
Midwest Motors isn't so much a "car dealership" as it is an "exotic automotive boutique." It's a place where you can look at cars completely out of your price range, yet still buy a vehicle that's in your budget. If you're in the Chicago area and in the market for a car, you should definitely take a look at their showroom or visit them online. Who knows, maybe that dream car you've always wanted is waiting for you in a former vintage furniture store in Lake Zurich.