The dire blow of COVID-19 — causing over 40% of Black-owned businesses to close this year — has not blocked Omar McGee from expanding his luxury car dealership in Los Angeles. In fact, McGee is proceeding with fresh bold strategic moves that include building up clientele, expanding into new business via partnerships, and positioning his company for future revenue growth.
The CEO of Posh Luxury Imports, McGee runs the only Black-owned exotic vehicle sales and rental dealership in the nation’s second-largest city. It offers everything from Honda Accord to Rolls Royce. Vehicle prices run from $30,000 to $330,000 and sometimes higher.
Yet, keeping his enterprise running has not been easy. McGee was forced to apply some creativity and business acumen in March 2020 after scheduling the grand opening of a new $700,000 showroom with many L.A. celebrities, athletes, and influencers committed to attend. McGee had to cancel the gathering as the pandemic spread and Los Angeles was abruptly shut down on the day of the event.
Driven to get a return on his investment, McGee developed a plan to sell cars amid the crisis. Leveraging a strong clientele of medical professionals and corporate workers, he informed them he was still open and explained why they might need his services.
He found a niche in demonstrating to his core clientele that, includes doctors, celebrities, athletes, and other high-income individuals, why now is an ideal time to buy their next luxury vehicle despite the pandemic. That move allowed those customers to transition from renting vehicles from Posh to making an additional purchase of its luxury vehicles. That pivot not only uplifted the exotic sales business to the forefront temporarily, it also provided an opportunity for the dealership’s core exotic rental business to endure and even expand amid the crisis.
The moves paid off, allowing McGee to realize a 30% increase in sales largely from new and existing clients during the crisis.
Another game-changer came this summer. Meeting a new customer need and demand, McGee in July 2020 formed a strategic partnership with Amalfi Jets, providing exotic vehicles to the private jet company’s clients landing in Los Angeles.
He says the jet deal will boost car rentals, not necessarily the sales. “The exotic car rental and jets will be a package offering.” For all the jet clients that fly into LA, the exotic vehicles will be waiting for them at the hangar as they leave their jet, he says.
Plus, McGee this year captured other significant partnerships. They included deals with LA Lounge, a high-income, members-only cigar lounge, and Gauntlet Private Investments, a real estate private equity firm.
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McGee is reaching out to others for potential partnerships. They include record companies, liquor brands, sports brands, jet rental companies, hotel chains. boutique properties, and general concierge services. He noted that many of these potential conversations and deals are in the works.
“I have been able to flourish as a result of the strategic business moves, we’ve consistently made in the face of the global crisis,” McGee says.
Still, he is uncertain how much the new expanded moves will contribute to the bottom line. He says while 2019 revenue was 60% higher than in 2018, 2020 was a rough year though there were a lot of successes. He says revenue for this year will not be known until next year.
“We are just grateful to not only be open and surviving but thriving!” McGee says. “Whatever number that looks like, we are grateful.”
A seasoned entrepreneur and financial literacy advocate, McGee learned the business from his father who owned an auto body collision shop in Flint, Michigan. Omar McGee became his own boss in 2017 when he launched Posh Luxury Imports. His regular customers include actors, actresses, athletes and other celeb and VIP clients. He offers them luxury car rentals as well as concierge services among his offerings.
Further, McGee counts his wife, Teresa, as a credit to his success. “I enjoy running new strategies by her before I launch them and she always shares her honest opinions about my creative offerings and ideas.”
Now, Omar McGee wants to take Posh Luxury Imports to another level. And McGee is confident his business is well equipped for future growth. He projects sales and rentals will top $2 million for 2021. He expects the revenue to come from his exotic rental business exploding once the pandemic is lifted and LA opens back up. He expects to pick up new business from rivals who unfortunately failed during the crisis. He expects other revenue contributions from such as the jet business. tourism and award shows.
BLACK ENTERPRISE caught up with McGee by phone and email to talk about his business.
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BE: How did you survive the pandemic despite your core business – luxury vehicle rentals – taking a hit?
McGhee: I was able to survive the pandemic because I offer rentals and sales. Sales being the new focus during the pandemic, as rentals were at an all-time low, allowed the business overall, to place its full attention on luxury car sales, and that in turn allowed the business to grow.
What did you do to find a niche in luxury?
In many cases, I am more exotic than the vehicles displayed in my showroom because I am young and African American, which are two extremely rare elements in this industry. That creates a level of trust and I can cater to all types of consumers because I can relate to them all. Young rappers who see me as their peer, middle-age businessman, who see me as their colleague, and rich seniors who see me as their grandson, all trust the Posh experience. I offer something that has not been seen before in car buying. I offer a glass of wine, cigars, a relaxed environment, no pressure, and anxiety that is typically aligned with the vehicle purchasing experience. I happen to be an African American young man offering these exclusive experiences. When you consider there are many more seasoned owners that do not look like me, and even they are not providing what I am, under one roof.
What kind of unique promotions did you run to grow your business?
Convenience, speed, delivery and pricing are our top selling points. You call us and we get the deal done in 24 hours or less. We deliver the new vehicle to their doorstep. These high-end services, already uniquely offered, expanded 63% during the pandemic, because it allowed for social distancing with luxury convenience. We slashed prices as low as we could to turn a profit. Affordability is traditionally not an issue for our customers but we were mindful of it during the pandemic. The pre-pandemic promotions were offered up to 15% off all Posh sales, compared with being discounted up to 30% during the early day of the pandemic. The discounts helped us sell more cars as people rushed to buy them.
What are your business plans for the remaining months of 2020?
The goal is to have financial reserves for next year. We are planning now to begin our year 2021 in March rather than January to be cautiously ambitious. We are generating those financial reserves by following the blueprint we created during the pandemic. We are looking for the ideal time to pivot back to our core rental business. As far as future strategic partnerships, we hope to expand them with new partners in late 2021, and a yacht company is our next target. We also plan to have the grand opening for our new showroom on March 14, 2021, hoping it will not be canceled like it was this past March.
Speaking of the showroom, what will it offer that will be new for the dealership?
The new offerings are more space and more of the Posh concierge experiential elements. They include wine, cigars, pick up from the airport and drop offs, deliveries of new exotic vehicle to your home or business. It offers more visibility from the road regarding accessibility being on one of the busiest streets in LA. In terms of new exotic brands, we now offer Rolls Royce, Bentley, Porsche, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, and Range Rover. Those brands were not offered before this showroom.