This article was sponsored by Mark Motors Group.
It may seem odd that going back in time could propel you into the future.
But after four years of forecasting and analysis, the Mrak family saw that locating their new Porsche dealership across the street from where their father, Louis Mrak, founded the family business in 1959 was the best move.
The intersection of Montreal Rd. and St. Laurent Blvd. isn’t just a gateway connecting Ottawa’s downtown to the east end, it’s a portal to the history of the family’s business. Back when seeing a Porsche on the road was so rare it was a treat, Louis Mrak hosted “Porsche days,” and handed out posters of the luxury car to those window shopping or simply admiring the Porsche cars on display on Sundays. Some of those giveaways created customers who bought their first Porsche from him – and are still customers to this day.
Those long term connections are what Mark Motors is all about.
Connecting with the future
The last time Mark Motors renovated their Porsche dealership was 12 years ago. Since then, Porsche sales have doubled and technology has advanced.
You won’t find a big parking lot at the new dealership, rather an inviting showroom close to the street that gives you the full Porsche experience: a small cafe, enclosed service drive through, consultation spaces and the chance to engage with the brand itself through different modules.
Big changes were also needed to keep up with advances in technology. New technology like electric and self-driving models are either here or on the way, and they aren’t going to service themselves. That’s why electric Porsche owners will benefit from an all-new battery repair centre, and sensor-equipped models will have custom-designed bays.
“You almost have to have two work bays to be able to have the proper panels in place so you can realign your cameras with the new technology on cars,” said Michael Mrak, president of Mark Motors Group. “It’s actually quite something.”
The building itself will add a striking new architectural design to the neighbourhood, and its 68,000 square feet will house a service drive-thru, 14 service bays, including 2 alignment hoists and 14 Porsche display vehicles in the showroom.
All these developments are making Mark Motors new Porsche dealership a destination.
“It’s not just parked cars in a room. We’re giving customers the chance to touch and feel the brand,” said Liza Mrak, executive vice-president of the business. “They will be able to experience the textures of the car, colour options, electric vehicle technology all while enjoying the peacefulness of the space and maybe a cup of coffee. It’s all important for the consumer.”
Connecting with family & community
For the Mraks, keeping their father’s dream alive wouldn’t be possible without the help of family. Currently, all four Mrak siblings are engaged with the business, helping continue the legacy within the city.
Michael was quick to note that the real glue of the operation is their mother, Margaret Mrak, who at 89-years-old is still keeping the siblings in line. “She still sits at the head of the table when we have dinners together,” said Liza.
Margaret helped Louis get the business through some hard times, whether the business needed her to cook, clean, or keep the books. Her famous cakes were always a hit on Porsche days. They brought people through the doors as much as the cars.
It is clear that the Mrak connection to the community has also been part of their foundation. They know the importance of family and community and do what they can to help. Their involvement with the Boys and Girls Club, Montfort Hospital, Ottawa Civic Hospital, National Arts Centre and the Shepherds of Good Hope are some of the few organizations they support.
“When you see some of the children who are now young men or young women become successful in spite of what they went through, it’s really quite special,” said Michael about the Boys and Girls Club. “It’s really important to do these things.”
Whether it's running their business or supporting the community, the Mrak family will continue to drive the tradition of excellence day in and day out.