Experience Something Special

The Centre Blog in Escondido, California

Inspiration and Info

Looking for ways to improve your events, in need of helpful car tips, or just want to read up on what’s happening at The Centre? Take a look through our provided blog posts for added inspiration and information for everyday life.

The outside of The Centre Escondido next to the fountain, looking at the front doors. You can see the Lexus and Vintana sign.

Our Message To You

To Our Guests,

We greatly miss gathering with all of you—the people who make The Centre a rich and vibrant place to come together. We hope that you are safe and well. Many of us are uncertain how to move forward during this time, so we would like to share some information that we’ve found helpful:

Together, we will get through this. We look forward to serving you very soon.

In regards to The Centre’s current status, automotive repair is considered an essential service. So, Lexus Escondido remains open at this time. Our team has implemented new processes—including routine cleaning and sanitizing procedures and home delivery—to serve you safely. Please reach out to the Lexus team to learn more on the Lexus Escondido website.

Our events team is also available to discuss events for 2020 and beyond, go over menus, and walk you through your event planning needs. We can’t wait to celebrate your life’s most special moments with you again very soon. Learn more on our event page.

We are thinking of you each and every day. Please reach out if there is anything we can do to serve you during this time.

Wishing you ongoing health and safety,
The Centre Team

The Benefits Of Video Conferencing With Your Team

Over the past few weeks, millions of Americans have had to make an abrupt shift to working from home. For many, this has been a jolting experience. The act of getting up and going to work every day can serve as a trigger for getting your mind on track for productivity. Without that trigger, it can be a struggle to adjust to a day where all you can do is roll out of bed and try your best to get your work done.

This experience has also been an isolating one – working without your team can make you feel detached from the overarching goals of any workplace. Keeping yourself and your team motivated at a time like this can feel like a daunting task. Still, with the incredible technology, we have at our fingertips, staying connected is possible. 

Benefits Of Video Conferencing

The benefits of using video conferencing as a method of communication reach farther than you’d think. Video conferencing is an incredible tool for diminishing the spatial divide the best we can, so read on to learn more about the benefits of video conferencing.

1| Attendance

Perhaps the best thing about this situation is that most people aren’t too busy for a meeting. We don’t have to worry about appointments, lunches, major chores, or other meetings getting in the way of something as simple as a weekly check-in. 

It’s even easier to bring people together if you’re using integrated programs like G Suite, which connects meetings to emails and calendars and allows coworkers to know when you’re free to chat. Getting your whole team in one place—albeit a virtual one—is easier than ever. 

2 | Body Language

When we use tools that rely on text (or even phone calls that rely on voice), it’s easy for things to get lost in translation. Tone doesn’t always come across the way we intend, ideas can be misunderstood, and messages can be missed.

Body language is one of the many factors that allowed our species to get so far. We use body language in subtle ways to express ourselves and take in what others are trying to communicate in return. A subtle head nod or shake, the shrug of the shoulders, or a sweeping hand gesture can change the meaning of a sentence or interaction in a fraction of a second. So when that’s taken away from us, miscommunication is inevitable. 

Video conferencing bridges the physicality gap that our brains are always trying to fill and makes it much easier to communicate.  

3 | Streamlined Communication

We have plenty of methods of keeping in touch with one another: instant messengers, emails, and texts, for example. The problem with these tools is that conveying ideas can take lots of time when we factor in the back-and-forth required for one conversation, even those that seem the most straightforward. 

When we use video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts, we have an opportunity to discuss the way we do in person—we take turns expressing ourselves both verbally and physically—and that can turn a massive week-long thread of emails into a neat pile of deadlines and deliverables in a fraction of the time. Plus, when we approach these virtual meetings with an agenda and set schedule, things tend to move even more efficiently than they might in person. 

4 | Collaboration

Video conferencing, above all, allows us to collaborate. With screen sharing technology, it’s easier than ever to communicate our ideas to achieve whatever the goal of the meeting is. As long as the meeting is approached with set objectives, whatever projects your team is working on are bound to move forward smoothly and as a cohesive unit. 

Video conferencing is the best way for us all to make the most out of a situation that may feel a bit scary. If we come together and use the tools we have to integrate the work we’re doing, the only way to go is forward. You can find more resources to help you get started with virtual meetings over on our blog.

5 Tips to Keep Your Team Engaged In A Virtual Meeting

With so much uncertainty in the world right now, connecting to the people in our lives is more important than ever. For those who are working from home, keeping weekly team meetings with coworkers can be a catalyst for productivity and smooth sailing on choppy waters. 

There are plenty of benefits of remote meetings and there are so many ways to make them enjoyable, efficient, and perhaps even more productive than the in-person meetings you’re used to! Here are some tips and team meeting ideas that can help you do just that. 

1 | Maintain Etiquette

It’s important to maintain business meeting etiquette, even in remote meetings. Before your first one starts, for example, you have to prepare yourself and your environment for the occasion. 

The first step is to find a quiet place in your home for your call to keep partners, dogs, or children out of your background. Test your camera beforehand and make sure that nothing inappropriate (like a bottle of wine) is visible in the frame. 

Next, make sure your computer is ready to go. There’s nothing more distracting in a video chat meeting than having to figure out why your microphone won’t connect while everyone watches you fumble. 

The last thing to do is get dressed. Yes, everyone is probably working in their pajamas, but that doesn’t mean you can show up to a meeting wearing them. Do your best to present yourself the same way you would in person, look at the camera (it’s as close as you can get to eye contact) and be respectful of others when they are speaking.

2 | Plan Ahead of Time

One of the best ways to keep your team engaged is to come prepared. If you’re leading the meeting, ask yourself: “What am I trying to achieve here and what’s the most efficient way to do it?” 

Establish goals, key talking points, and questions for other team members. With those in mind, estimate the total amount of time the meeting will take and break it down into topic-based sections to create a schedule. This will keep everyone on track—there’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting that seems to stretch on aimlessly with no end in sight. 

Once you’ve put together a schedule and agenda, share it with your team at least a day before the meeting begins so they can come prepared as well. This will create an environment where collaboration is easy and communication is as smooth as possible. 

3 | Embrace the Small Talk

Give everyone a chance to introduce themselves or check in at the beginning of the call, especially if any unfamiliar people are being brought together. Allow a little bit of small talk while people are trickling in. 

4 | Be Inclusive 

Make sure to have lots of pertinent questions ready to go throughout each section of the meeting, and consider keeping a working document open so people have context throughout the meeting. When people anticipate being asked questions and have a document to work with and follow along, they’re more likely to stay engaged. 

5 | Follow Up

The last thing to keep in mind with these virtual meetings is following up. Share your meeting notes to everyone who participated. These notes should include next steps, deadlines, and a date for the next meeting. If this is one of the first of many virtual meetings you’ll be holding while social distancing, it could be useful to follow up with an anonymous feedback survey to find places for improvement.

Taking your meetings to the virtual world doesn’t mean they have to be any less interesting or productive and making the most out of working from home doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow these tips, stay connected with your coworkers, and know that everyone is in this together. When we are all able to meet in-person again we will be familiar with the tools that can keep our coworkers and clients connected around the globe. Our conference rooms have AV capabilities and bandwidth to be able to host a call across the globe. You can learn more about our North County meeting spaces here.

How To Video Chat With Your Team

When it comes to starting and maintaining a successful business, we all know that communication is key. In times like these, keeping in touch not only ensures that our teams are on the same page, but it also reminds us that we have each other to rely on.

What Is Video Conferencing?

Secure video conferencing is one of the greatest tools for workplaces around the world to stay connected and move forward together. We communicate mostly through body language, so seeing co-workers face-to-face—even virtually—is absolutely key to getting through this time.

Though we are not affiliated with any particular program, we’ve found that one of the best platforms for team video conferencing is the Google Hangouts Video Chat software. This software is especially efficient if your business is already using the G Suite because it’s so easy to integrate with Mail, Calendar, Drive, etc.

This communication software can be used by up to 25 people at once for business or educational purposes. Video meetings are encrypted, which means your call is safe.

How to Use Google Hangouts Video Chat on a Computer

Google Hangouts is a very intuitive platform. The hardest part is making sure your computer is set up to enable video chat. To get it set up, use the following steps:

1. Connect Necessary Hardware To Your Computer

This will include a video camera, speakers, and a microphone. Most laptops and many desktops already come equipped with these features.

When you start using Google Hangouts, you’ll be prompted to “allow access” to these features—make sure you click “Yes.” If you’re using external hardware (a video camera/speaker/ microphone), you might have to take some extra steps to connect them to your computer in your computer settings.

You’ll also need to be connected to WiFi for this to work. The faster the WiFi connection, the better video quality you’re going to see during the chat.

2. Set Up Hangouts

Next, set up Classic Hangouts. It is compatible with all major operating systems (Mac, Windows, Chrome, and most Debian-based Linux distributions) and web browsers (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, and Safari – and you’ll need this plugin if you’re using either Microsoft or Safari).

3. Start The Call

  • Open hangouts.google.com
  • Select a user from your Hangouts list or search for them via their email address(es). When you find the person or people you want to call, click their name(s). You can invite people to join by email or in a calendar event by clicking the screen in the call window, clicking “Add People,” copying the link to share, and pasting the link wherever you need to
  • Click “Video Call”
  • When you’re done, click “End Call”

How To Set Up Google Hangouts On Another Device

If you don’t have the necessary hardware to host or participate in a Google Hangouts Video Chat on your home computer, you can always use a smartphone or camera-equipped tablet to stay connected! Setting these tools up is even easier than it is on a computer, all you have to do is find the Google Hangouts app from the Apple App Store or Google Play (depending on the brand of your device), log into or create a Google account, and follow the steps above.

If you’re a little nervous about getting the call set up and going without any hitches, Google has put together this excellent cheat sheet to keep you on the right track.

If you are looking for something for video chatting purposes that has different features, Zoom, Go To Meeting, and Skype are amongst the most popular platforms. As with anything associated with your business needs, be sure to research the program that you choose, check their website and other reviews for security information, and choose the platform that is the best fit for your specific needs.

Tools like these connect us. With the best free video conferencing app at your disposal, staying in touch with your team in times of uncertainty like these is no problem at all. Plus, using these tools when we are all able to gather again will make video conferencing with folks all around the world second nature. Our conference rooms have AV capabilities and bandwidth to be able to host a call across the globe. You can learn more about our Escondido meeting spaces here.

Event Trends in 2020

The New Year has arrived and it is time to celebrate! From baby showers to weddings to birthday parties, The Centre is the perfect setting for all of your event needs! This past year, a few of The Centre venues received some upgrades. One of our biggest changes was the grand opening of our 4,000 sq. ft. ballroom, Diamond Ridge. Our Events team is eager to get your event booked and begin the planning process! To help get the event planning wheels turning, we are giving you the top 3 event trends of 2020.

Location

Location, location, location! 2020 is all about unique venue experiences. Endless Events reports that 53% of surveyed event planners said the biggest location trend of 2020 is selecting unique venue spaces over hotels. Here at The Centre, we are the definition of a unique venue. Our three-story building is the home to a car dealership (Lexus Escondido) on our first level, a shop collection on our second level, and a Cohn Restaurant (Vintana Wine + Dine) on our third level. With the wide variety of options, we provide event attendees with a one-of-a-kind experience.

Alternative Food

Next, another big trend for 2020 that has been on a recent rise is alternative food options. From vegans and vegetarians to dieters doing Keto or Whole 30, serving food and beverage to your guests has become far more complex. Incorporating various options on the menu can ensure that there is something for everyone. Our upstairs neighbor and event caterer, Vintana Wine + Dine, offers certain menu items in vegetarian or gluten-free options in order to help better accommodate guests. Pro tip: On the event invite, ask guests to please notify you of any diet restrictions in advance.

Personalized Touch

Finally, adding that personalized touch to each event will go a long way in 2020. Nowadays, most event attendees are taking to social media to share their experience. Adding an event hashtag for guests to use makes it easier to collect event photos. Doing this will make the event more unique, personal  and memorable in a fun and interactive way. Themed cocktails add a personal touch to your event and are more likely to be posted about by event attendees, as well. It could be as simple as his and her cocktails for a wedding reception or holiday-themed drinks for a Christmas party!

No matter what trends you choose to follow, your guests will appreciate all the time and effort put into it. In one of our unique venues, and with the help of our Events Team, you can make your dream event come true. Come in for a tour! We’d be happy to show you around and help you decide which venue is right for you. For more information, contact our Events Coordinator, Arianna Jimenez, at 877-568-6118, or visit www.thecentreescondido.com/celebrate.

An Unprecedented Experience at Lexus Escondido

unprecedented [ uhn-pres-i-den-tid ]

adjective

  1. without previous instance, never before known or experienced, unexampled or unparalleled

To say that Lexus Escondido, and its trademarked AutoJoyment experience, is unprecedented would be an extreme understatement. Is it a process, a brand promise, a big huge audacious goal? An emphatic YES to all!

AutoJoyment is the blending of hospitality and entertainment with automotive sales and servicing. It is creating unparalleled amenities, care, and service to accompany your showroom and ownership experiences. It can only exist at Lexus Escondido by virtue of the home court advantage that they enjoy with their three-level, 326,000 square foot facility that boasts a golf simulator, private library with massage chairs, eight indoor and outdoor meeting and event venues, Culture Craft Coffee, JJ’s Boutique, JJ’s Loft, Stephen Fishwick Fine Art, RockNHair Salon, Andrew Arroyo Real Estate, The Wedding Centre, and of course everyone knows and loves the award-winning cuisine at Chef Deborah Scott’s Vintana Wine + Dine.

It’s not only a facility that makes a place great, as phenomenal as The Centre is, it’s the people that truly set this place apart. It’s their servant hearts; it’s going the extra mile to make sure that you feel welcomed, comfortable, and cared for. It truly is their pleasure to serve others and share their JOY.

That service and joy looks like $40 to enjoy at Vintana just for having your current vehicle appraised or taking a test drive, 10% off Lexus service and free breakfast at Culture Café on Saturdays, free manicure and pedicure in lieu of taking a courtesy car, invitations to exclusive events, courtesy car washes, and so much more.

If this sounds too good to miss out on, visit Lexus Escondido today to experience AutoJoyment for yourself. Of course, you can also learn more by going to https://www.lexusescondido.com/autojoyment or contacting us at 760-690-2740.

 

 

Book The Centre’s Newest Venue for your Holiday Party Today

What a great year it has been at The Centre, home of Lexus Escondido. In fact, this year has been so fabulous that we are ending it with a bang! We are proud and excited to announce the official opening of a brand new indoor event space.

Our newest space, Diamond Ridge, is a 4,000 sq. ft. ballroom with room for up to 250 guests. Italian stone and chandeliers abound in this refined, yet comfortable venue. Every type of grand event can be accommodated, from weddings to concerts, quinceneras, corporate holiday parties, retreats and more. In addition, there is a holding kitchen for full catering services and plenty of natural light that comes from the large windows and glass corridor. Diamond Ridge also boasts ultramodern audio and visual equipment easy for presentations, movie showings, or use by a DJ.

In fact, right now if you book your holiday party to be held on a Sunday through Wednesday you’ll receive 20% off the venue fee!* Your guests will also receive a free glass of champagne upon arrival compliments of Vintana Wine+Dine—the award-winning restaurant that sits atop The Centre—if you have your event catered by them.

At The Centre Escondido, we are more than just a luxury car dealership—we are three levels of unique and beautiful space.

Come in for a tour, we’d be happy to show you around and help you decide which venue is right for your event. For more information, or contact Events Coordinator, Arianna Jimenez, at 877-568-6118 or visit www.thecentreescondido.com/celebrate.

*Ask our Events Team for more information.

Experience AutoJoyment at JJ’s Boutique

AutoJoyment at The Centre, home of Lexus Escondido, has Expanded into JJ’s Boutique—a specialty shop you won’t want to miss!

The new JJ’s Boutique, located in the heart of the Lexus Escondido Service center, offers a number of exciting, fashionable, fun, and environmentally sustainable items that make for some amazing gifts!

Now, if you’re thinking ‘Wait, what? You got birthday gifts at an automotive service center that weren’t oil filters or wiper blades,’ you definitely need to get over to JJ’s Boutique to see for yourself their spectacular selection of things very beyond automobile maintenance. They carry specialty lines like Beekman goats milk beauty products, Kate Spade purses and accessories, Blue Planet sun readers and sunglasses, Shiraleah apparel, Tea Forte tea accessories, and Roost jewelry line among numerous other quality products. There’s everything from luxurious throw blankets to popular children’s picture books; cute beanies to gorgeous candle creations.

“Aside from providing merchandise that meets your every gift need, I also try to buy local, sustainable and charitable when selecting my vendors to make our store more genuine and unique in its offering to the community,” said Tracie Weston, manager of JJ’s Boutique.

In fact, JJ’s is THE place to do your holiday gift shopping if you’re looking for something special for that unique someone in your life. There are a number of beautiful winter scarves, great headbands, plus special fun Christmas-themed items that are available now.

Judy Jones-Cone, President and Founder of Lexus Escondido (among other dealership and charity entities) and namesake of JJ’s Boutique, said “I have always wanted to create a vibrant Lexus retail experience that entertains and excites our guests.  It is important to me that they enjoy their time with us.”

This dovetails nicely with the whole concept of “AutoJoyment” – blending hospitality with the automotive industry. From grabbing a cappuccino at Culture Craft Coffee as you peruse through the newest Lexus models, to getting your hair and nails done at RocknHair Salon, to having lunch with friends at the five-star Vintana wine + dine to now finding that perfect gift for someone on your way to a party after getting your car serviced. Experience AutoJoyment. Experience Lexus Escondido.

You can visit JJ’s Boutique on the 1st floor of The Centre, home of Lexus Escondido at 1205 Auto Park Way, Escondido, CA 92029. See our website for more details at: http://www.thecentreescondido.com/shop. Plus, get social with us on Facebook and Instagram!

Business Meeting Needs for 2020

Business Meeting Needs for 2020

As we enter the last quarter of the year, it’s important to jump ahead on the planning for 2020. Impress your employees with beautiful and accommodating meeting venues at The Centre, located in Escondido, CA, where we offer various venue spaces fully equipped for all of your business needs. In fact, this month, we are upgrading our venue spaces with all-new audio & visual components! To help you decide on all of your business needs, we’re giving you a few reasons why off-site meetings can be more effective.

Change of Scenery

Meeting outside of the office can really give the employees a breath of fresh air. When getting together at a different location, everyone is forced to adapt to a new environment which prevents individuals from falling into their usual meeting routine, such as taking the same seat, staring out of the same window, etc. Therefore, creativity is sparked and ideas will flow easier through discussion.

Face-to face Communication

No more hiding behind the phone calls and emails! When you’re at an off-site meeting, you are given the opportunity to meet your colleagues in-person and able to put a face to a name. This helps create healthy professional relationships, as well as strengthen existing ones. Also, the change of scenery tends to relax employees, which can make conversations start in a smoother and more natural manner.

New Type of Learning

Off-site meetings are hardly similar to your normal office meetings. Icebreakers are usually a significant part of the conversation, because they teach individuals to step outside of their comfort zone. Breaking off into teams is another great way of learning that you usually don’t experience in your everyday environment. Typically, in your office, you work with the same group of individuals. However, at an off-site meeting, there are usually representatives from various departments. When you break off into groups, you are not only meeting new people, you are also learning how to work with unfamiliar work styles and personality types.

 

There are many benefits to planning off-site meetings for your employees. The Centre, home of Lexus Escondido and located near Temecula, CA, is available to assist you with fulfilling all of your business needs. Contact our Events Team today and begin booking for 2020!

Introducing JJ’s Boutique

It’s sparkly, new and you can walk right through! The Centre, home of Lexus Escondido, has been busy with a special project that will provide the community with some retail therapy. We are excited to announce the opening of JJ’s Boutique, housed in the heart of the Lexus Escondido service center.

Judy Jones-Cone, President of Lexus Escondido, explains her vision behind the gift shop, “I have always wanted to create a vibrant Lexus retail experience that entertains and excites our guests. It is important to me that they enjoy their time with us.”

With The Centre, Mrs. Jones-Cone has taken the car buying experience to a whole new level with entertainment, hospitality, and unparalleled service. She calls it AutoJoyment, and that’s exactly what you get at The Centre! From grabbing a cappuccino at Culture Craft Coffee & Espresso as you peruse through the newest Lexus models, to getting your hair and nails done on the second floor Rock ‘n’ Hair Salon, to having lunch with friends at the Vintana Wine & Dine to now finding that perfect gift for someone on your way to a party after getting your car serviced. “We strive not only for excellence in product and service, but also to make it entertaining and exciting to do business with Lexus Escondido. JJ’s Boutique is one component of our fulfillment of the AutoJoyment experience at Lexus Escondido,” explains Mrs. Jones-Cone.

Among the numerous brands JJ’s Boutique will be carrying are Beekman, goats milk beauty products, Kate Spade purses and accessories, Blue Planet sun readers and sunglasses, Shiraleah apparel, Tea Forte tea accessories, and Roost jewelry.

Tracie Weston, manager of JJ’s Boutique boasts about the variety of items, “Aside from providing merchandise that meets your every gift need, I also tried to buy local, sustainable and charitable merchandise when selecting my vendors to make our store more genuine and unique in its offering to the community.”

This gift shop definitely has something special about it; with the beautiful space, an immediate weight is lifted. It may be the soft glow of the accent lighting or the pleasing visual appearance of the products in store or the smiling faces of the gift shop attendants, but whatever it is JJ’s Boutique is sure to put a smile on your face.

You can visit this dazzling new gift shop on the first floor of The Centre! Or, learn more by clicking HERE!

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