The beauty pit stop

Published 11:47 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

Entering the First Team Toyota Building, you see exactly what you would expect to see from a car dealership.

Sales representatives walk the main floor.

Model cars shine in the front lot.

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You can even hear the faint sounds of drills and air wrenches coming from the nearby service center.

But that’s where the similarities with most car dealerships end for the new dealership, located on Western Branch Boulevard, just across the Suffolk line in Chesapeake.

Further inside the 76,000-square-foot building, there is a café for customers to enjoy snacks and drinks, a children’s room to keep young ones entertained and a theater room, where people can enjoy a movie while waiting on their car.

Then, past all of that, there is Beverly Beamon’s workplace: A fully equipped and brand-new full-service spa.

“I thought I’d never see the day that I’d be doing nails in a car dealership,” Beamon said. “But it’s actually the perfect place to do it, because there are plenty of people waiting.”

The dealership opened last month. The leadership said they wanted to put together a dealership that would give its customers what they wanted.

“These are the things people want to do,” said Billy Hobbs, vice president of business development fro First Team. “It’s all about the customers, it’s not about us.”

And catering to today’s customer is more about catering to women than ever before.

Hobbs said that research has shown 63 percent of people who come in for car services are women, and that 84 percent of people making the decision in the car buying process are women.

“We don’t sell to the husbands anymore,” Hobbs said. “The game has changed; we’re now selling to the wives.”

To help create a positive relationship with the female buyer, Hobbs said, the First Team executives knew they needed to put in place the things most women want.

“This (dealership) is a family-oriented place,” Hobbs said. “It’s convenient. It’s comfortable. You can bring your small children, and they can be entertained and you can enjoy some time for yourself as well.”

That is where Beamon comes in.

With more than three decades of experience in the cosmetology field, Beamon offers everything from manicures and pedicures to waxing services and massages. Additionally, the spa has a full-time hair stylist to cut, color or curl hair.

“I want people to take time for themselves and enjoy their time here,” Beamon said. “I want you to feel good when you leave here. To me, it’s rewarding, because I am a people person, and I like doing stuff for people and seeing them happy.”

Happy customers are repeat customers, which is good for any business.

Hobbs said the dealership sees anywhere from 550 to 600 customers each week just for car services, which equals a lot of potential business for the spa.

“It works hand-in-hand,” Hobbs said. “Beverly will bring the dealership customers and the dealership will bring Beverly customers. We have not had anybody yet who has been disappointed, so we’re off to a good start.”