From vroom to boom – RClub evolves in Leaside

Adam Westland, co-founder, RCLUB.
Adam Westland, co-founder, RCLUB.

In the vibrant heart of the Leaside Business Park, a unique club has redefined the luxury car experience for car enthusiasts and their families. The RClub, which “vroomed” onto Commercial Road in the summer of 2019, has transformed from a luxury car-sharing service to a more holistic social club that caters to a discerning community of car enthusiasts since Leaside Life wrote about the club in 2019 (https://leasidelife.com/rclub-vroom-vrooms-onto-commercial-road). Founded by Adam Westland, Noah Barlow, and Igor Denisov, the club quickly established itself as a sanctuary for those with a penchant for high-end automobiles and a spirited community atmosphere.

From its inception, the RClub was positioned as a haven for car lovers – a place where the thrill of driving and the camaraderie among enthusiasts intersect. But that business model incurred high service delivery costs. The club’s original model was based on opportunities arising from the exotic luxury car-sharing market catering to a niche consumer segment seeking to experience the excitement and prestige of driving high-end vehicles without the commitment of ownership.

“The only thing that matters is getting to product-market fit.”
– Marc Andreessen

While the allure of driving luxury and exotic cars drew initial interest, the club discovered that its members valued the community and the opportunity to engage with like-minded individuals even more. However, it turned out that many members already owned cars they loved. This insight prompted a pivot towards enhancing the club’s social aspects, including the addition of co-working spaces, workshop facilities with professional car lifts and tools, an indoor wash bay, and a dynamic event space with a giant 25-ft screen…essentially, becoming a social and private club where car enthusiasts can thrive around the clock. Yes – 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

The interior of RCLUB.
The interior of RCLUB.

Entrepreneurship is primarily about finding “product-market fit” and the RClub’s shift in gears seems to have achieved this. Today, the club’s 325 members, 60 per cent living within a 15-20-minute drive from the club, revel in a wealth of activities that extend beyond the road, including workshops and vibrant social events curated by an in-house team, all supported by its 7,000 sq. ft. upscale clubhouse. The club’s strategic response to member feedback since its inception has helped lower operating costs by 70 per cent, making the club much more accessible at $4,000 per year, while broadening its appeal and diversifying the membership base.

With members enjoying round-the-clock access to the clubhouse, appealing to a diverse range of schedules, social engagement has flourished, and this vibrant community thrives day and night. The workshop space is a particular point of pride for the club, offering a rarity in Toronto, where members can personally work on their cars. The availability of full-service options, catering to those who prefer a hands-off approach to vehicle maintenance, complements this DIY ethos.

Unlock the city on May 25 and 26 with “Doors Open Toronto”

Members also participate in track days and engage in a wide range of social activities. “The introduction of a member portal with message boards has kept conversations flowing and interests aligned, leading to the spontaneous organization of events and groups within the club, such as the newly formed cycling group,” said Adam. I couldn’t help smiling at the irony.

In fact, one question I did ask on behalf of our community, was to get an opinion on the late night howling of racing engines we Leasiders hear from time to time. Here’s Adam’s response: “…RCLUB has always discouraged this type of behaviour and we find it very unfortunate that some people choose to use the roads in this way. We are strong supporters of ‘take it to the track’ and provide many opportunities for our members to do exactly that.”

Interested in learning more? Excitingly and for the first time, the RClub will be participating in the City’s Doors Open Toronto. Adam confirmed the full club will be open to the public Sat., May 25th, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and again on May 26th, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the Monaco Grand Prix will be streaming live at 10 a.m. “There will be members and staff on-site both days to answer questions and to welcome everyone into the space!” Adam said.

Each May, Doors Open Toronto invites the public to explore the city’s most-loved buildings and sites, free of charge (https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/festivals-events/doors-open-toronto/). The event provides rare access to buildings not usually open to the public. Which local businesses or other building and sites in Toronto would you like to see open their doors next month? Let us know at .

About Glenn Asano 60 Articles
Leasider Glenn Asano is a partner and principal consultant for the strategy and business development practice at Centred Performance. He is also an Instructor with the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University.