As a child, Derek Brown carried a briefcase and dressed just like his father as they sat across from one another at the main office at the Bob Brown car dealership.
It’s Derek who now commands the leather chair from which his dad once offered the sage business advice that so easily transferred into life lessons.
“My father always taught me you want to treat your staff and your customers with respect and do what is right. Simple things like treat others how you want to be treated,” said Derek, business development at Bob Brown GM/Buick. “It is comforting for me at this time after my father has passed that there is customers that come in and tell me how much they appreciate the relationships with the dealership and not just Bob, but our entire staff.”
Since Bob’s death in July, his son has been striving to carry on the legacy of his father’s compassion for the community and success in the business world.
“I would sit right here in this chair and watch him work. I wanted to be just like him. He put a lot of great tools in front of me and I think the main thing is he was so involved in the community and charity events ... those things will continue and hopefully I can even make them better,” said Derek.
It is the groundwork Bob put in and hiring people who believe in his ideas that has helped the dealership remain open for 27 years and sell over 24,000 vehicles.
“When you have established that level of relationship with your customers it helps you sustain through difficult economic times. I met a couple the other day and they just took delivery of their seventh vehicle in a row that they have bought from us,” said Derek.
The years before Bob’s death, his son said the renovations at the car dealership were his pet project. That is why Derek is proud to announce the grand opening of the million dollar renovation for the South Okanagan’s first enclosed full drive-in service facility.
“Although my father is no longer with us, he did get to see the completion of it and I think he would be very proud of the fact that he was able to establish it. It makes me happy to know he saw the completion,” said Derek.
Clients can now drive up to the climate controlled service facility while technicians get the licence plate number and pull up prior work history on the vehicle. Still having not left their vehicle, a technician will walk up to the car and find out what their needs are, whether it be a quick oil change to any make or model of vehicle, mechanical work or otherwise.
An open house celebrating the new facility will take place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A barbecue offering free food and drinks will take place, door prizes, 10 per cent off coupons will be handed out and draws for bigger prizes.
“We want everyone to be able to have a walk through of our service department so they can see what they can expect when they come to get their vehicles serviced,” said Derek.
Besides the 4,000 square foot addition, the building facade has been redone with upgrades to the interior with a new customer lounge. In conjunction with the grand opening, the dealership is having a sale offering the public GM employee pricing on new vehicles all weekend.
“All of our vehicles have been rated Consumer Digest best buys and a lot of them have five-star safety ratings and great technology. It really is the best time to be buying a vehicle,” said Derek.