Ontario Motor Sales is very pleased to announce Feature Friday, a web series that will highlight our talented staff here at OMS!
Each week we will be featuring a description of, and brief interview with, one OMS employee to find out what makes us a great place to both work and do business.
We are excited to feature Tony Willson, Owner and Dealer Principal, as our first Feature Friday interviewee! Please see below for a transcript of his interview.
What does Ontario Motor Sales mean to you?
To me, it’s a deep family tradition, coupled with a progressive approach to business. That’s a really interesting combination; we try to lead the industry with our approach and we’ve been in business for so long that we’ve got an innovative group of people working with us who know how to get there. I guess, in short, OMS means the world to me!
What has been your favourite part about working here?
Definitely the people here. The automotive retail industry is something exciting to be a part of and to have faced our successes because of our business approach, well, that’s really special. I really like watching people to develop and change through a change in culture that we’re able to bring about. Sometimes, I think, it’s important to see some failures in order to achieve that growth, so that’s something I place a lot of value in, too.
And the pay-off is great; we were the number one GM dealership for new and pre-owned sales in 2015, which is a testament to our staff’s dedication.
What is one thing you try to bring to your interactions with customers?
I think the biggest challenge so often is to remember that we do this every day, several times a day. Our service advisors each deal with about 25-30 customers a day and our sales staff see similarly high numbers of people in our showrooms. Making sure that we present relevant and appropriate information to our customers is critical. As one example, in order to best explain the circumstances for a vehicle’s repair, we really try to do that from the customer’s perspective. It’s a hard thing to balance, but I think it’s necessary.
How would you describe the working environment here? Why?
I like it to be fun. I want our employees to enjoy coming to work. But we also have targets and goals, and that’s something everyone understands too. I think we have a great combination going for us in being a small business with a big sign out front—General Motors—and that brings out the best in the environment. We’re very goal-oriented, but that drives us.
More generally, I love our staff appreciation events. We attended game six of the Blue Jays playoffs last season and we have an annual staff Christmas party that all of our employees are invited to attend. There’s a lot to enjoy!
What is your most interesting—fun, funny, or otherwise—OMS story?
It isn’t my story, but I think one of the coolest things I’ve learned about the history of the dealership is that we actually converted the shop into a turnip-waxing facility during World War II. The techs who weren’t fighting abroad would wax turnips in the shop to be sent overseas for soldiers. Apart from that being something to be proud of, it also probably kept us from closing, as we only sold ten new cars in 1943. When the war ended, sales picked up again, but we found a way to keep ourselves busy and useful during the war too.