Get Your Motor Running

For a company named MINI, big things have always come in small packages. It’s part of their eclectic DNA. So when Schomp MINI recently opened up a new Highlands Ranch showroom—and more than quadrupled in size—it was an opportunity for the iconic vehicle to fill the space with their signature culture.

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“It’s kind of an oxymoron, saying you need more space for a MINI,” joked Schomp MINI General Manager Mark Osborne. “Size aside, though, it’s like any other growing brand.”

That brand is one built on motoring, maneuvering, and making the most out of life. And it’s the design-inclination that makes us excited to have Schomp MINI by our side as a partner for Denver Design Week.

The difference is in constructing an experience. “I want to go to the experts in design, those who are thinking purposefully and provocatively to convince the customer it’s more than just buying the product,” said Osborne. At 65,000 square feet of space celebrating culture, the largest MINI showroom in North America does not disappoint.

With a good deal of latitude from corporate headquarters, President Lisa Schomp and her son/company Owner Aaron Wallace were able to put their design stamp on the structure. The glass, steel, and polished black concrete create a breezy, lofted feel, accented by a unique second floor outdoor showroom and on open floor plan devoid of offices. This confluence of design and automotive dealership is a natural fit—after all, company namesake Ralph Schomp was an architect by trade.

It’s how these forms follow a very particular cultural functions, however, that really revs our engines. That open floor plan was specifically selected to remove the intimidation of closed offices and create a welcoming environment.

new-location-schompmini-exterior-v1 And forget your ideas about dingy waiting areas: Customers coming in for service drive right into the showroom to meet the concierge before settling into the lounge for a healthy snack, charging their Android/iOS devices, and even popping on headphones to listen to Schomp MINI’s vinyl collection on provided turntables. “We call ourselves the “un-dealership”—our mantra is keeping the perspective of how people like to be treated, as we like to be treated ourselves,” said Osborne. “That means being seamless, transparent, and fun.”

Fun means sipping some of the best coffee you’ll find from Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters. (The award-winning Lakewood company provided Schomp MINI specifications on how to brew the perfect cup, down to water pressure-optimization.) Or having a drink from the outdoor showroom bar during one of the events hosted by the dealership’s community partners. Or simply learning about the “MINI wave” that’s shared when encountering other motoring enthusiasts.

This is the fabric of the brand that, as Osborne put it, makes MINI the Harley Davidson of automobiles. And at Schomp MINI, it’s why people will often come back even after their vehicle has been serviced to finish reading a book on the outdoor showroom’s shaded patio. “The Mini culture evokes the idea of getting a lot out of life,” said Osborne. “When you come in, we don’t want you to just sit around and wait—we want you to get something out of the experience.”  

Motor on, indeed.

2015 DFW MINI