Dealer driven to hire local
Tom Dolan knows how to set himself apart from the crowd. Heck, have you seen his car? It’s sleek, black, flashy and fast. It’s a high-tech luxury Lexus LFA. It was built as an icon for the Lexus brand and can easily hit 200 mph.
According to Dolan, Lexus only made 300 of them and his is the only one like it in the state of Nevada. That’s the kind of statement Dolan is known for.
He began selling cars in Reno in the 1970s and 40 years later he heads up an automotive empire. Now he’s expanding the Lexus portion of that empire with a $25 million Lexus dealership that is currently under construction on South Virginia Street.
It will be a top-of-the-line dealership and community center rolled into one. The complex will have 70,800 square feet of space. And from beginning designs to ending craftsmanship, it’s all being done by local companies, subcontractors and suppliers.
“I believe in this community and I decided that while this project is a big deal for us, it should be a big deal for the community too,” Dolan said. “So I have used local engineers, local architects, local construction crews, local materials. This is local at all levels.”
It will have a showroom, a concierge service, offices for making deals, rooms for watching TV, Wi-Fi for using computers, a separate area for kids to play, a lounge and fresh coffee and muffins. There will also be a community room complete with a huge patio overlooking the mountains where company functions will unfold and community events will be welcomed. He’s proud of all of those amenities, but he’s most proud of the fact that it’s a local project.
“I grew up here. I went to school here,” Dolan said. “I want to see this community get the pay off for the business and the tax revenue. So I’m not just talking about it,” Dolan added.
“I’m making it happen.”
More than two dozen local companies will have been a part of the project by the time it opens. From construction crews to roofers, landscapers, elevator installation and electrical lines; every phase is employing local workers and adding to the bottom line for tax revenues for the area.
And his decision wasn’t because the local bid came in lower. It was because he believes that investing in the local workforce creates a bigger, longer-lasting impact for the future here.
“I didn’t really save any money by staying local, but I am helping grow the community,” he said. “On a $25 million project like this, I might have been able to save like $25,000-$30,000 with an outside company. But that doesn’t pay off in the long run. The way I look at it, $25,000 is nothing when you’re talking about a $25 million project. And this way I’m putting local people to work who will spend their money here in this community.
“I’m showing serious support for local businesses.”
Clark/ Sullivan is the company ushering the project through.
“In my 33 years in business, I’ve never seen an owner with this level of commitment to doing business locally,” said Clark/Sullivan President BJ Sullivan. “We are working only with local companies, and that provides a significant economic impact to our community.”
By the time the new dealership opens this fall, Dolan said about 300 local workers will have worked on it. From construction to finishing touches, they will all have added their own expertise to the complex.
Dolan has seriously bought into the idea that putting people to work will not only help with employment for the duration of the project, but will continue to add to what is spent at other businesses for months to come.
Tom Dolan takes time to meet as many of those workers as he can and throws a big luncheon for the workers at the end of each phase. He thanks them for their part in growing his empire and gives them a little something extra for their time: a bit of a discount at his dealerships just in case they find themselves in the market for a car in the future.
“I’m pushing local because I believe in it. I’m hoping others will see the need to spend their money locally too,” he said.
“An investment is an investment. I think mine are solid”
The Lexus dealership on Mill Street will be moved to the new building when it’s done. He expects to add two dozen full time employees to his current staff to work there, which is yet another good trend for this area.
The team plans to open in August and hopes to see a crowd when they’re ready to show it off. They have a huge patio with a great view of the mountains and fresh coffee and muffins to boot.
Reno-based design firm MBA Architecture and Design is assisting on the $47 million Caesars Entertainment project in downtown Reno.