The York Road corridor between Timonium and North Baltimore isn't exactly Rodeo Drive or Park Avenue. Still, there's plenty of fast food, liquor stores, and the Maryland State Fairgrounds, which hosts several popular 4-H competitions. That's why the opening of a Maserati-Lamborghini dealership at 1630 York Road, down the block from Ray's Truck Rentals and Bruce Lee Chinese Carry-Out, caught our attention.
"There were no exotic car dealerships out here, and with Baldwin and Roland Park nearby, there is a lot of potential," says Bryan Seward, Maserati of Baltimore's über-serious general manager. Upon inquiries into Seward's background, he notes that his family is descended from the 17th century Episcopalians who settled Kent Island—not a pedigree suited for selling Hyundais.
So how did six-figure Italian sports cars end up neighbors with an elementary school and a PetSmart? Last fall, Ferrari Maserati Lamborghini of Washington decided to open a Baltimore-area location. While the dealership had plenty of clientele from the Washington D.C. area—Business Week reported in April that Maryland has five of the richest zip codes in the country, all around D.C.—the honchos figured Baltimore also had some untapped wealth.
In February, the company took over a former Hyundai dealership and invested more than $1 million in renovations. Now it's a luminescent polygon; at night, it sparkles like a debutante at cotillion. "Earlier this year, we had a car accident out front," recalls Seward. "A guy in a Mercedes-Benz rear-ended someone while looking in the showroom window."
Maserati of Baltimore has a fluctuating inventory of roughly 20 Maseratis, two Lamborghinis, and several pre-owned Bentleys and Ferraris. The dealership opened on Valentine's Day, and sold two $127,000 Quattroportes before month's end. Since then, it's averaged six sales a month (three new, three used). Already blessed with deep-pocketed customers (Orioles and Ravens among them), the dealership is using unorthodox means of finding more: in September it hosted a young professionals networking event. Next stop: The jodhpur crowd.
"I want to reach the horse people," Seward explains. "There are a lot of horse farms along Greenspring Valley Road and Shawan Road, and they are a very wealthy group." Maybe the 4-H is a good place to network after all.