We often ask those we see driving exotic cars what they do for a living, especially when they look younger than your average Lamborghini Driver, but when you see the latest Aston Martin DBS, Lamborghini LP640, Mercedes CL65, Range Rover Supercharged and Bentley GT driven by the same guy. Only one question comes to mind: Who are you? Meet Tony Yuen, a successful business man that heads the most respected luxury car shop in all of Canada.
First off let me say that Secret Entourage is proud to bring you our best secret to success story yet and a big thank you to Tony and SR Auto Group for sharing their incredible story with our readers. Seeing SR Auto Group’s collection of cars truly impressed us and reminded us that there are others like us who never settle for great but choose to go for the dreams and ambitions that most would look at as impossible. Congratulations to Tony for reaching this level of accomplishment and we hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did.
Tony, what is SR Auto Group? What do the initials SR mean?
SR Auto Group is a statement.
Living in the beautiful landscapes of Vancouver, BC – you will often see our signature ‘SR’ initials on select modified luxury and exotic vehicles. We have been incorporating our ‘style refinement’ into the automotive industry for over a decade. We approach each project with the same intent as an artist creating his masterpiece – to express individualism, be different and make a statement.
Having seen some of your cars, and projects, I can honestly say that the word masterpiece is an understatement. Tell us how it all began?
First off, I have always been intrigued by cars and the art of modifying them. My older brother and cousin were a huge influence, as they were customizing their rides before the culture hit mainstream in the early 90s.
In 2000, my first job after college was doing contract web design for the original owners of SR. The following year, I branched out with two partners and started my own auto parts business online. Our first office was in a 300 square foot basement suite with inventory stacked up to the ceiling.
“Fast forward 10 years, amidst multiple office expansions, couple mergers, 14 hour days and many long nights – here we are.” Alongside my business partner Cyrus, who has been the top sales manager at SR since its inception, we are now the co-owners of the company where everything started.
That’s amazing, 10 years is a very short time in business to go from working somewhere to owning it and it seems that you really stuck to it, no matter the ups and downs. You knew where you wanted to go and simply made sure you were prepared for opportunities as they presented themselves. That’s admirable…
Tell us about your team?
Chemistry is everything. Our entire team is comprised in-house. This means we’ve hired based on staff referrals and people already in our lives that we believe would be an essential ingredient to the success of our company.
Training is an intensive process at SR. We strongly enforce the importance of teamwork, efficiency and perfection. Each individual has a focus on very specific tasks to eliminate chances of error to the absolute minimum.
How did you end up in Canada?
What better place is there to be? Vancouver, BC is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, and renowned for its high living standards. It is home to successful entrepreneurs, creative minds, and a fabulous collection of exotic and luxury vehicles all in one place.
I was born and raised in Canada, but I’ve also traveled to extensive regions of Asia. There is no place in the world I would rather start my empire at.
SR Auto Group works on very high end cars, similar in a sense to Platinum Motorsports in LA. How do you differentiate yourself?
Platinum Motorsport is a powerhouse trendsetter and we have the utmost respect and admiration for their company and its success.
SR is renowned for perfection. Our distinct style is reflective through our artistic designs, exemplary customer service and unique business concepts. Once you step through our showroom doors, you will see that vehicle modification is only the beginning. Our vision is derived from spectrums of fashion, art and fine living.
SR customer service caters the ‘executive’. We understand the importance of efficiency and the value of time vs. business. Business comes first and we go to the extents for our clients. Imagine returning home from a business trip and having your preferred modified vehicle ready for you at the airport at your arrival. How about dining at one of our SR affiliated restaurants without reservation or wait?
We don’t differentiate. From concept to creation, we elevate every idea to a whole new level.
Many will say the recession has impacted their way of doing business. What impact has the recession had on SR Auto Group?
There are always circumstances that you cannot control. A recession is one of them.
We’ve chosen to focus on what we do best and at a time when the economy was holding its breath, we stayed focused, worked harder and made bold decisions at the right time.
At the height of the recession, we opened our second location, the SR Gallery downtown.
A side note to our reader: Risk is all about timing, Tony saw an opportunity to get in on commercial real estate and purchase goods and property cheap in order to expand in what other consider to be a dangerous time. Investing when other are afraid to is a strong business model for rapid growth.
What drives you guys to keep pushing ahead?
My personal philosophy is ‘wake up with a purpose’. Our company revolves around this statement and when everyone is firing on all cylinders, anything is possible.
Let’s be honest, when you are working in an environment surrounded by Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Ferraris, motivation becomes instinctive.
Looking back at the last 5 years, what do you regret the most?
There is nothing I would regret when it comes to business. “Everything happens for good reason and without failure there cannot be success.”
What are the main ingredients to your success?
It is evident that building a versatile team has been the leading force for SR’s longevity and success.
Alongside my business partner Cyrus, we have been fortunate to find individuals who are creatively talented, passion-driven and have a high standard level for what they do.
Looking at the road ahead, what does the bigger picture look like? What’s in store for 2010?
2010 will be a monumental year. We recently launched EMPYR Picture Car Rentals – Vancouver’s first modified exotic car rental catering exclusively to BC’s film industry.
We are constantly building new alliances with companies such as Prestige Luxury Rentals, providing luxury car rentals and concierge services.
Our future endeavors and interests include collaborations within the fashion and real estate industry.
What advice can you give those that dream of one day owning a shop like SR Auto Group?
“Be relentless. If you have a vision, follow it.” No matter how small your company is, remember that every successful business started at the same point you are at right now.
Tony leaving us with some very strong and inspirational words. It goes without saying that Tony is an example of what success looks like on every level and we are confident that his mindset, attitude and drive will allow him to take SR auto group to the next level in 2010. It was a treat for us to be able to bring you into Tony’s world and to share with you what other young successful people do to get to their goals and dreams. Remember that it takes ACTION to create circumstance, and that dreaming doesn’t get you anywhere, so next time you dream of driving a Lamborghini, Bentley or Ferrari, simply stop and ask yourself “What can I do to get there” and begin NOW.
Thank you again to SR Auto Group and Tony and we hoped you enjoyed this as it has truly inspired all of us.