ARCHIVED  May 20, 2011

Ghent has roots in the past, eye on the future

GREELEY – Ghent Motor Co. has seen its share of ups and downs since it opened its doors in 1942 as a Ford dealership in Fort Collins. Two generations later, Bob Ghent is carrying on what his grandfather started, selling Chevrolets and Cadillacs at the corner of 35th Avenue and U.S. Highway 34 in Greeley.

Bob Ghent took over the dealership from his father in 1988, building a new facility in 1991 and adding the Cadillac brand to the lineup in 2001. In April, Ghent Motors was the highest volume Cadillac dealership in Northern Colorado, according to Ghent.

This growth is a result of hiring the right people, working hard, and doing the right thing, he said. The 86 percent growth in revenues from 2009 to 2010 – from $15.5 million to $28.9 million – has placed the dealership in the eighth spot on this year’s Northern Colorado Business Report Mercury 100 list of fastest growing companies in the region.

Ghent Motors has also increased its selection over the last year and a half, and according to used car manager Kai Koponen, the 200 used cars on location make it easier for customers to shop for the perfect vehicle, saving them time and money.

Ghent also attributes his business’s success to the “world-class” technicians he employs, who take care of each and every car that comes in for service as if it was his or her own.

Ghent and his company also play a big part in the community of Greeley, donating time and money to various causes.

Among the organizations with which Ghent is involved are the United Way of Weld County and Toys for Tots. Bob Ghent serves on the leadership council of Upstate Colorado Economic Development and is the chairperson for the American Cancer Society Cattle Baron’s Ball, an annual event that raises thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society.

Ghent also participates in highway cleanup in Greeley and food and coat drives.

Embracing the future

Despite its roots in history, Ghent is embracing the future, making use of the Internet as a powerful tool for selling cars.

“The Internet changed the car business,” Koponen said.

According to Ghent, the store employs a team of Internet salespeople who are kept very busy by the high volume of online sales.

“Our Internet sales have doubled in the last year,” Ghent said.

Ghent Motors also makes use of the Internet to reach out to vehicle owners and past customers through the blog on the website. The blog gives maintenance and driving safety reminders, written by staff.

Ghent also said that the company will be undergoing a facility upgrade in the next two years to come into compliance with General Motors’ image standards, showing that the company has no intention of slowing down any time soon.

“We’re doing business a different way,” Koponen said. “It’s all about customer service.”

He added that the employees make a difference by operating as a team rather than as different departments.

Despite all the changes, there are things at Ghent Motors that have stood the test of time. Perhaps the most important of these is that the business is still under the watchful eye of a member of its founding family.

“Bob Ghent is here each and every day,” Koponen said.

GREELEY – Ghent Motor Co. has seen its share of ups and downs since it opened its doors in 1942 as a Ford dealership in Fort Collins. Two generations later, Bob Ghent is carrying on what his grandfather started, selling Chevrolets and Cadillacs at the corner of 35th Avenue and U.S. Highway 34 in Greeley.

Bob Ghent took over the dealership from his father in 1988, building a new facility in 1991 and adding the Cadillac brand to the lineup in 2001. In April, Ghent Motors was the highest volume Cadillac dealership in Northern Colorado, according to Ghent.

This growth is a…

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