By Emily Sorensen
Toyota of Poway, located at 13631 Poway Road, celebrated its official grand opening on Tuesday, July 11 with friends, family and Toyota officials.
The dealership, which has been open in its new location since January, was waiting to celebrate the official opening until they could arrange to have Toyota executives visit.
For owner Vince Castro, who has owned Toyota of Poway since 2008, it was just another day of providing the best service possible to his customers. “We want to give [our customers] a different experience,” said Castro. “We want to be more of a hometown dealer.” The business sells new and used Toyotas, as well as the Scion brand. It also has a service center.
Though Poway wasn’t Castro’s original hometown, it is now. Originally from New Orleans, Castro, who has been in the automotive industry since 1984, owns another Toyota dealership there, opened in 1995 with longtime friend and business partner, Troy Duhon. In 2008, Castro was given the opportunity to acquire Toyota of Poway. “It wasn’t very hard once I visited the city of Poway,” said Castro, who moved his family from New Orleans to Poway to take ownership of the dealership.
Castro move of the dealership across the street was prompted by the city management team, who asked him if he’d be willing to renovate the three empty buildings on Poway Road, which included the former Dodge Chrysler Ram dealership. The move has proved fortuitous for Castro, who said that since opening in January, business has increased 17 percent in sales, and 22 percent in service volume. “It’s just a great time [right now]. People are curious about the move,” said Castro.
The move has also allowed Castro to hire more employees. Castro said employment at Toyota of Poway is up 10 percent since the move in January, with 110 employees working at the dealership now.
Though not a native of Poway, Castro has fully embraced his new hometown. “My partner [Duhon] and I share a philosophy, profit for a purpose,” said Castro. “We’re very much into giving back to the community.”
Toyota of Poway gives back to the community in many ways, including sponsoring many high school activities in Poway, giving to the San Diego Center for Children, and sponsoring the Lake Poway 4th of July and fishing tournament. “We’re very involved in the community,” said Castro. “I’m very aligned with the St. Michael’s [Catholic Church, in Poway] community as well.”
Toyota of Poway is open seven days a week. For information, call 888-662-6108 or visit www.toyotaofpoway.com.