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Parkway began in the Cadillac Buick GMC building that still stands today at 24055 Creekside Road. It was a small store that had only Oldsmobile and Cadillac, featured one small standalone IBM PC2 F&I computer and an antiquated computer system for Accounting and Service. All repair orders in service were hand written and the stalls were limited to 12. Half the area in the back of the building was a dirt lot for storage. What is now the Hyundai store location was a dirt lot used by the local Ford Dealer for storage. The Valencia Nissan building was unoccupied because the Mitsubishi store had gone broke, and many of the lots on Creekside were still un-built dirt lots. Keep in mind that in 1991, Valencia was a dusty little town with a little over 100,000 people. But shortly thereafter, Valencia and its surrounding communities began to explode.
Since 1991 Santa Clarita-as it's called today-has nearly doubled in population. We have a regional retail mall, a major hotel, a major theme park, a large industrial park, three major undergraduate colleges, and a well-equipped regional hospital. Very few cities in the U.S. have undergone such a rapid growth. To top it all, Santa Clarita is considered one of the safest cities to live in California. Parkway Motorcars also exploded during that period in both size and complexity. A beginning employee count of 30 has risen to close to 130. The net worth of Parkway has tripled. Our sales revenues in 1991 were a little over $18 million and in the past few years we have in some years exceeded $100 million. Now here is an interesting point: several other dealerships were established in this auto center in the same time period, and some of these had better financial underpinnings than Parkway. But they have not grown like Parkway, rather, they have either been sold and bought by big corporations or in some cases they have remained small dealerships. What was it about Parkway that made us so different? Was it our name? Think of the chutzpah it took to put Parkway (named after the two major Boulevards that intersect only a ½ mile away from the store) - over the door of a little known dealership in 1991. Who was kidding whom? But if it wasn't just the name, then what was it? Dreams? Leadership? Serendipity?
Not only has Parkway grown dramatically since 1991, but our role and mission have evolved as well. From 1991 through 1994 we were just trying to survive, hardly advertising, just serving primarily walk-in customers. We lived off of the traffic created by the advertising of the local Ford dealer. Ford and Toyota had hot products and they had lock on most of the sales in this auto center. However, two major events happened in late 1993 and early 1994.
Although we had bought the GMC truck franchise from the local Nissan dealer in September 1991, we had never really gotten into the truck business. In late 1993 we decided to become a player in the truck market and were given a special allocation of 100 GMC trucks. Timing could not have been more perfect. In January 1994, the Northridge Earthquake happened, and became a turning point in our business. Parkway was lucky to survive the earthquake with little damage. The earthquake damage claim payments to residents in Santa Clarita caused a major infusion of capital in the local economy with a surge in customer demand for trucks. We had one of the biggest years in sales in 1994 because our special allocation of the 100 trucks arrived in February and March of 1994 just in time to meet the customer demand for trucks. Like they say - timing is everything....
By the mid 1990s we were an established dealership. We had enough meat on our bones to expand. In 1995 we bought and established a GMC truck lot and built a new dealership on it in 1997. In 1998 we acquired the Pontiac and Buick franchises and relocated the franchises. In July 2002 we added the Hummer franchise, and in January 2003 a state-of–the-art standalone Hummer facility was completed - only the second Hummer dealership to be built in the nation.
In 2002 we were also awarded the Infiniti franchise. The new Infiniti dealership opened in July 2003, adjacent to the Hummer dealership. We were fortunate to change franchises with the times. We acquired Hyundai in December 2005. In April 2009 we closed our Hummer dealership and replaced it with the Volkswagen franchise. Also in May 2009 we opened up a GMC Commercial Truck facility in Castaic.
Today, we continue to grow. We are one of the few dealerships from 1991 still under the same family ownership. We are considered one of the best dealerships by GM, and continue to garner many awards and honors year after year. What is it that makes us so different? Our employees. They have pride in being members of the Parkway family. They embody and ennoble the concept of change. They strive to be the best and are here to make an excellent livelihood for their families. They are not order takers; rather they exemplify professionalism.
At all times, they show our customers that we are working to earn the right to assist them with their transportation needs. They project a positive and helpful attitude reflecting the community spirit of the Santa Clarita Valley. After all, if a tiny family-owned dealership with no resources to speak of, located in a dusty little town near onion fields, can become a renowned dealership in just under 20 years, what might the next 20 bring?