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Toyota Opens World’s Largest In-Mall Service Dealership at West Edmonton Mall [Interviews/Photos]

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An Edmonton Toyota dealership has moved into the West Edmonton Mall saying it could be the largest full-service dealership inside of a shopping centre anywhere on the planet.

Mayfield Toyota, which had been at 102 Avenue and 170 Street for decades, recently opened in the popular and huge mall with the rebranded name West Edmonton Mall Toyota. Retail Insider covered the original announcement back in 2019.

Mayfield Toyota had operated since 1998 under that name and for many years prior under previous ownership.    

David Friesen, General Manager & Managing Partner of the dealership, said the business moved from about 56,000 square feet at its old location to about 125,000 square feet in the northeast corner, Phase One, of WEM.

Image: West Edmonton Mall Toyota

“At the end of the day we were really looking for a way to make using our facility convenient for everyone. Every ounce of marketing we’ll ever do is all about convenience for all,” said Friesen. “Our slogan is West Edmonton Mall Toyota, all makes, all models, all day, every day. It’s a gorgeous Toyota store. The showroom is unbelievable. It will blow your mind. Cars everywhere.

David Friesen

“It’s the servicing aspect of it that really is just remarkable. We built it service forward meaning that three quarters of the space is really designated to service and parts departments. Our drive-thru at Mayfield if  you were coming for an appointment held six cars. Then once the six cars were full you were waiting in line outside in your car to come in the drive-thru. This particular one will fit up to 33 cars. It’s a massive drive thru.”

Friesen said the new showroom has 38 vehicles. There’s a covered carport outside that shows display units, holding up to 65 vehicles. It also has a section of the parkade that will hold up to another 600 vehicles. The previous company showroom had a capacity of about 15 vehicles.

West Edmonton Mall Toyota brings a variety of services for all makes and models, including: full detailing packages, quick and convenient express oil changes, complete mechanical services, over-the-counter parts purchases, tire sales/swaps and storage, windshields and – most importantly – all of their services will now be open seven days per week from early until late.

Image: West Edmonton Mall Toyota

In their all new state-of-the-art, indoor, fully interactive showroom, shoppers will have the ability to shop inside; no more trekking through the snow or through a heat wave.

They will offer shoppers even more convenience by constructing a massive valet centre at Entrance 50, that can be used by all WEM shoppers and employees as an easy way to drop off their vehicle for parking, full detailing packages or even express services.

West Edmonton Mall Toyota will also be offering an exclusive loyalty program through their newly created West Edmonton Mall Toyota App. The app will give their customers access to many exclusive offers and programs throughout West Edmonton Mall.

“To our knowledge we have yet to find anything like this anywhere on the planet,” said Friesen.

Image: West Edmonton Mall Toyota

“We’re 100 per cent certain we’re the largest dealership in the largest mall in the planet. There’s no question there. We think we may be the only one.”

David Ghermezian, President, West Edmonton Mall Property Inc., said “West Edmonton Mall is excited to partner with Mayfield Toyota in the development of a unique customer-focused Dealer Experience at a scale which has never been seen in a shopping centre before.”

“We’ve seen firsthand how our customers have embraced Mayfield Toyota at WEM through the last five years with many successful sale events at the Mayfield Toyota Ice Palace. This innovative partnership supports our customer’s lifestyles by providing a level of service and convenience that is unparalleled in the industry.

“We’re excited to be at the forefront of this groundbreaking automotive experience.”

Image: West Edmonton Mall Toyota
Cyril Dimitris

Cyril Dimitris, Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Toyota Canada Inc., said the company is excited about this unique opportunity to serve its customers in West Edmonton.

“We look forward to supporting Mayfield Toyota as they work with West Edmonton Mall to make this move a success.” 

Friesen said other dealerships may look at the possibility of setting up shop in a mall especially as more big box stores close and malls need something to fill large space. Plus, a dealership would not be competing with any other retailer in a mall.

“It’s a good addition we bring in. Good customers who have some time to spend and what do they do? They can shop if they want. It’s a good marriage between the two but there’s got to be a lot of things that line up right. You’ve got to have the right space. You’ve got to have the right access. Putting a 130,000-square-foot dealership into the mall is not for every manufacturer. You have to be able to service the volume of people that come through here,” he said.

West Edmonton Mall Toyota (Image: Best Edmonton Mall)
Michael Kehoe

Michael Kehoe, an Alberta-based retail specialist, said the collaboration between West Edmonton Mall and Mayfield Toyota is part of a growing trend across North America where automotive dealerships are absorbing significant tracts of former department store spaces at major shopping centres. 

“Toyota will have a major footprint at West Edmonton Mall in the former Sears store plus some space formerly occupied by retail stores,” said Kehoe, broker/owner of Fairfield Commercial Real Estate in Calgary.

“The dealership will enjoy a prominent retail location and the Mall will benefit from a significant number of dealership customers bringing their vehicles in for service where the average visit will be a minimum of three hours. It seems like a win / win to me as major malls transition large portions of their space to non and quasi-retail tenancies.”    

Bruce Winder, author of RETAIL Before, During & After COVID-19 and President of Bruce Winder Retail, said Toyota’s move to the West Edmonton Mall appears to make sense. With the amount of traffic that the mall generates the dealership is bound to pick up some business. 

Bruce Winder

“Tesla pioneered this approach by locating showrooms in premium malls near Apple stores. Unlike Tesla, Toyota will have a complete offering of amenities including detailing, service bays, inventory storage and showrooms.  Other vehicle brands have used malls to sell including Porsche,” said Winder. “I think this represents the changing tenant mix of malls that now includes select digitally native brands, cannabis stores, health care providers, educational service providers and many other unique sellers that may have used standalone units in the past. As malls polarize into distinct lifestyle solution providers, Toyota will fit in well with their quality focused offering.  

“The brand will need to ensure it is integrating e-commerce into the facility as the way consumers shop for vehicles has changed. The internet plays a much greater role in terms of information search, comparison shopping, vehicle customization, purchase, and post-purchase behaviour than previously used – and shoppers demand it. Toyota has an opportunity to leapfrog Tesla in terms of experiential retailing and take it to the next level if they wish to.

“Obviously, one would need to know what they are paying in terms of rent and how much they spent on renovations to determine the financial viability of such a move but judgmentally it feels positive.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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