In today’s job market, longevity with one company is not something you hear much about anymore.
As with many team members at Competition BMW, Wayne Locanthi has been with the company for decades.
Wayne was working as a “counter guy” at a car dealership in Huntington when he became friends with the delivery driver from Competition BMW. Though the delivery driver was only in his teens, much younger than Wayne, he knew that Wayne would fit in at Competition BMW.
That delivery driver was Joe Buzzetta, now the president of Competition BMW.
“Joe said I should come and work for his father,” Wayne recalls. “I liked Joe, so I took him up on his offer.”
That was more than 30 years ago.
Wayne is now the Parts Director for two of the dealerships in the Competition Auto Group, Competition BMW of Smithtown and Mercedes-Benz of Smithtown.
Over the years, Wayne has adapted to changing automotive trends and new technology while continuing to expand his knowledge of the automotive parts industry.
He credits his team for building the Competition BMW wholesale parts division into one of the largest distributors in the tri-state area, who deliver to body and repair shops from Queens to Montauk.
“I have a great team here. Everyone has been working for me a long time,” Wayne says. “Dennis Micieli, our assistant parts manager, has been here for 36 years, probably the longest tenure at Competition BMW. Most of the other team members have been here six-plus years.”
According to Wayne, the remarkable employee retention rate is attributed to the ownership at Competition BMW.
“The Buzzettas are very family oriented,” he says. “It’s like working for a friend. The whole family is the same way. Plus, they are all excellent business people.”
The goodwill works both ways. Wayne’s team takes on new challenges to better the center because they know that management respects and recognizes them for their loyalty.
“We used to get stock orders once a week and now we get deliveries every day. Our stock person comes in at 6 every morning, checks everything in and gets the merchandise ready for delivery. We fulfill all orders from here,” Wayne explains.
As a result of the extensive dealership renovations from the future retail initiative, the Parts Department is now more connected to the new Service Drive.
“We are all centrally located now and not hidden in the back, which brought us to a higher level of customer service,” Wayne says. “Now my team can interact on a more personal level with the customers when they come in to purchase lifestyle items, parts or keys.”
The closer proximity between the departments has resulted in a higher level of positive customer service experiences, and a stronger professional relationship between employees and clients.
In addition to BMW parts, Wayne’s department also fulfills orders from the popular BMW Lifestyle Boutique. BMW apparel and other licensed products can be purchased at the center or online, and Wayne’s team also fulfills orders from their robust online parts store. Since the grand opening of the remodeled center, face-to-face transactions have risen significantly due to a strong following of regulars who like to work on their own cars.
Community outreach is also a part of Wayne’s job.
“As a group, we are involved with the Long Island Auto Body Repair Association,” he says. “We host their meetings and have an annual picnic and classic car show just to say thanks to our wholesale customers.”
Competition BMW offers a supportive culture for team members, and their long-standing commitment to giving back to the community has been a key reason for their employees longevity and the center’s success.