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Small Lincoln stores offer unique customer experience

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The addition of smaller Lincoln boutiques — another dealer plans to open one this year in Bethesda, Md. — comes as the brand prepares to electrify its lineup this decade to compete against rivals such as Tesla, Lucid and Rivian, which all operate direct-to-consumer stores.

Heigl said inspiration for the Sanderson boutique came from the Lincoln Experience Center in Newport Beach, Calif., which Lincoln owns and operates much the same as a Tesla gallery (and is located steps away from one). Shoppers there can learn about vehicles and configure them, but if they decide to purchase one, they are directed to a nearby dealer.

While the Sanderson boutique can complete sales, Heigl said he was inspired by the experience center’s laid-back atmosphere and focus on building awareness, something Lincoln still needs in certain circles. He said Scottsdale developers plan to add thousands of units of residential space around the boutique in the coming years, which will further increase foot traffic.

Shortly after the boutique opened last year, the team decided to leave its lights on after closing at night so people walking to and from bars, restaurants or entertainment venues could see the store’s vehicles illuminated through its floor-to-ceiling windows.

The space often hosts wine tastings, fashion shows and other non-automotive events.

“It’s about comfort; we’re not trying to attack them,” Heigl said of potential buyers. “We’re allowing them to breathe in a space they feel comfortable in.”

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