Ferrari of Washington
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis are very special cars. Their owners tend to be financially well off, discerning and enthusiastic about the vehicles. That's also true about the founders of Ferrari of Washington. The dealerships started out in the fall of 1994 with a few people operating out of a garage at the house of one of the owners. Allie Ash and "fellow co-conspirators" (all Ferrari enthusiasts) managed to take over the D.C. area Ferrari franchise from a Mercedes-Benz dealership where Allie hung out after purchasing one of the cars.
The deal was closed with Ferrari, even though they had no place at the time to locate the new dealership. The group brought in Arnie Poundstone, who worked as head Ferrari technician at the dealership, to be its service manager and a site was located in an industrial park near Dulles Airport. It wasn't long before Ferrari cognoscenti found the shop and put the word out all through the Mid-Atlantic. Although the permit process in Northern Virginia discourages car dealerships, Loudoun County wanted the prestige of Ferrari and was willing to be flexible. A fast track design was generated and the approval/construction process was completed within five months.
Ferrari of Washington quickly gained a reputation for being a dealership operated by "car guys," and a loyal following allowed an expansion in 2002 with the addition of Maserati. Maserati has a history rooted in racing and a passion for the open road and it was a natural addition to the dealership's Italian product line. This success was followed in 2005 with the acquisition of a Lamborghini franchise from a local Chevrolet dealer. Mr. Ash and his partners felt at the time that Lamborghini represented the values sought after in high performance Italian touring cars and, frankly, they felt it was their moral responsibility to undo the sacrilege of having this great brand sold out of a Chevrolet dealership.
In 2003 a new dealership location was completed on Route 28 in Sterling, Va. - one that tripled the size of the previous location and is architecturally worthy of the cars they sell. A separate new Lamborghini facility is being built right next door and a Maserati dealership in Baltimore just had its grand opening.
None of this has been easy for the business partners but, in the long term, their enthusiasts' focus has been vindicated. They have been successful, not because they were savvy car dealers, but because they stuck to a few guiding principles. As they were Ferrari owners and enthusiasts before they were Ferrari dealers, they always tried to look at everything through the eyes of the customers. They learned that you can't stay in business if you don't treat customers as valued clients. …