By Myron Love
DAUPHIN, MAN. – When fire destroyed Kelleher Ford Sales in Dauphin in September 2011, general manager Chuck Burton knew they had a big job ahead of them. True to form, Burton and his staff never lost sight of what was important.
“The fire was devastating. We lost inventory and a building but we’re so grateful that no lives were lost or injuries sustained,” Burton said. “When you experience something like this, you need to completely change gears and deal with the situation at hand. There was a small part of our dealership that was not affected by the fire so it became business as usual for our staff while the rebuilding discussions began.”
Now, after a challenging 13 months, the staff at Keheller Ford Sales is once again working under one roof.
The long-time Ford dealer (The Kelleher family bought the former Forman Ford four years ago) held its official reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 28.
Among the 150 or so guests on hand were Graeme Whickman, V-P of marketing at Ford of Canada and Gerald Wood, Ford’s western region general manager.
The new store is larger at roughly 15,000-square feet. Its location is all new as well, as the company bought new land at 1700 Main Street in south Dauphin, roughly 265 km northwest of Winnipeg.
The building has a four-car showroom and nine service bays including space for the dealership’s new Quick Lane franchise operation.
“It’s a new way of doing business for us,” says Burton of the Quick Lane feature. “We can offer oil changes without an appointment and still do tire rotations and light maintenance from the pit.”
He said he was proud of his staff’s dedication, noting that even under difficult working conditions that included working out of three different buildings, they have continued to provide customers the same level of service they have come to expect from the dealership.
Despite the devastation of the fire, the aftermath provided an excellent marketing moment for Burton, Ford and the F-150.
The day following the blaze, Burton shot a short video of a volunteer firefighter driving a heavily damaged 2011 F-150 over a massive pile of rubble.
“This gives a new meaning to Built Ford Tough,” someone yells out in the clip.
He posted the video online. It has garnered over 239,000 views to date.