LIVONIA, MI - Marygrove Awnings, one of the largest retractable awning companies in the country, has been drawing more attention to its business with its "mobile showroom," its Ford Transit Connect. Mike Falahee, owner of Marygrove Awnings, said the vehicle has helped improve sales by 15 percent since its purchase in March.
The awning company recently took part in the recent Woodward Dream Cruise, the world's largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe, with its unique-looking Ford Transit Connect. The vehicle was wrapped from front to back with Marygrove's distinctive logo and sported colorful, striped roof-mounted awnings that extended out from the vehicle on both sides. Falahee said the cruise down Woodward Avenue generated a lot of interest in the vehicle and in his company.
"It's amazing how much attention it gets. People were coming up just to see the vehicle," he said. "But they weren't just looking at the Transit Connect, they were inquiring about our products as well."
The roof-mounted awnings actually demonstrate the product. One side shows the manual operation of the awning, and the other side shows the motorized function.
"Customers can touch and feel the product and see how it works. You can't do that if a guy walks into your home or business with a catalog," said Falahee. The display up on the roof of the Transit Connect also gives enough height for customers to get underneath the awning and "really feel the comfort of the awning when it is projected," he added.
Marygrove Awnings conducts business in Southeastern Michigan, Texas, and Ohio. Currently, the company has two Transit Connect sales vehicles - one in Michigan and one in Texas.
"Our vehicle in Texas has even more bells and whistles, including an onboard computer," said Falahee, referring to Ford Work Solutions, an in-dash computer that allows employees to access appointment scheduling and billing information online. "We also installed a slide-out 30-inch flat screen television inside one of the doors so that we can show videos of various awning applications. It's ideal for home and garden shows."
Falahee said the company recently purchased two more Transit Connects.