“Our goal is to have complete satisfaction by the customer when we sell an automobile or provide service, so that customers have that extraordinary experience they can only get at a family-owned business.”—Jerry Reid, partner
This year, Smothers European Volvo out of Santa Rosa has once again claimed Best Luxury Car Dealership in the North Bay, something Jerry Reid, partner, attributes to the direct, family-run ownership and honest business style, focused on earning repeat customers over taking them for a ride.
Mark Smothers founded the company in 1982, and Reid came on as partner shortly after, eventually becoming general manager. His son-in-law, Brian Velyvis, has since also joined as a partner, and his daughter Breanne Velyvis, serves on the board of directors. The company has 118 employees, and sells Volvo and Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
“Our goal is to have complete satisfaction by the customer when we sell an automobile or provide service, so that customers have that extraordinary experience they can only get at a family-owned business. We’re very proud of that. We really do take care of our clients here and make it a special place to buy a car,” says Reid.
Being a smaller company with direct ownership, a family member is on site every single day to ensure business is being carried out up to standards—which means being fair to the customer, fair to the employee and fair to the business. Sometimes, Smothers European Volvo can’t make a deal that will meet a customer’s needs, and that’s okay, says Reid, because they’re focused on being ethical and honest over other dealerships, that may take advantage of customers.
Part of that is getting into the customers’ shoes, says Reid, and realizing that they do this once-a-day every five or 10 years, while the employees at Smothers European Dealership do it every day. The model they pursue is to provide excellent and fair service, so customers will return for maintenance and service for the lifetime of that car, and will be more likely to purchase their next car from Smothers because they had such a good experience before.
“Our finish line is where the customer comes back and continues to do business with us. We deal a pleasant smile from customer. That’s our reward,” says Reid. “A lot of people reply that they’re very happy with the sales process. We provide a fair market price for our vehicles and we get them a car that fits their needs and desires.”
On the management side, that means making sure employees are “leaning over” to the client every day. According to Reid, “It’s all about professionalism, being business-like and giving clients all the information they need so they can make an informed deal.”
As a result of supply chain troubles related to COVID-19, inventory had been down in the past few years, but manufacturing has been recovering and inventory is trickling back in, says Reid.
He highlights the new influx of hybrid and all-electric cars, including Volvo’s all-electric ET40 and D40 vehicles and Mercedes-Benz’ new EQS all-electric sedan, which is currently sold out. Located at 2881 Corby Avenue. in Santa Rosa, Smothers European Volvo is open seven days a week.
[Photo courtesy of Smothers European Volvo]