'We never dreamed of something like this' | Local News

About two years ago, Todd Penz sat in a car in front of the Mill's Fleet Farm gas station and looked to the east.

"I look over at this open land on hill with a retention pond and a fountain," he recalled. "I look to the left and I see all these shopping centers (at Shoppes on Maine). I look to the right and I see apartments being built."

Penz immediately called his father, Dan Penz, who was a co-owner of Clements Chevrolet Cadillac Subaru. They had been looking for place to build a new Subaru dealership.

Clements ended up acquiring the land. About a year later, in October 2016, Clements opened a new $8 million Subaru dealership at the corner of 48th Street and St. Bridget Road Southeast.

The Subaru dealership passed another milestone on Dec. 1 of this year, when Todd and Dan Penz split from Clements and officially purchased it.

Clements Chevrolet Cadillac now is owned David Remick, Jack Remick and John Wade. The Penzes no longer have a stake in the almost 90-year-old dealership in front of Rochester's Apache Mall.

Now known as Subaru of Rochester, Todd Penz is the new general manager of the dealership that stands on the very site he spotted in 2015, after buying some snow pants.

Penz, who now manages at team of more than 50 employees, said Subaru is today's hot brand, with the dealership selling more than 70 new vehicles a month.

"I remember when I started selling Subarus (for Clements) in 2009. We'd sell maybe five to 10 a month. … Now, look at this place," he said gesturing at his new dealership. "We never dreamed of something like this back then."

In addition to busily selling and servicing vehicles, Subaru of Rochester is adding to its amenities to make its customers and their pets more comfortable.

"We put in a dog park last week. … We get two to three dogs in here every week," Penz said.

John Wade, a co-owner of Clements, said the split between the dealership has gone as smoothly as a ride in one of his cars.

"The transition has gone very well," he said. "We (Clements and Subaru of Rochester) both remain very committed to providing great service and value to our customers."

Penz said he is thankful for his time at Clements and for a continuing good relationship with the elder dealership.

"John Wade and everyone at Clements taught me everything I know about selling a car," he said.

So what will customers find different at Subaru, now that it is separate from Clements?

Not a lot, other than the name, at first. The staff remains the same. The vehicles are the same. The approach to selling will be similar.

"We offer a stress-free, negotiation-free way to buy a car," Penz said.