BRATTLEBORO-- The new owner of Brattleboro Ford has always worked in the car industry, and he certainly believes in customer service.
"Our first priority is making sure the customer is taken care of," Frank Hanenberger said.
Before buying the dealership, which was formerly known as Rountree Ford, Hanenberger had owned the Brattleboro Subaru for the past three years, which he continues to run.
"We saw that the (Ford) store was coming up for sale and thought it was a great way to expand our services to the greater Brattleboro area and Windham County."
Before owning his own Subaru dealership, Hanenberger worked at another Subaru dealership in eastern Massachusetts.
He believes Ford is the best truck made for Vermont and Subaru is the best car for Vermont.
Hanenberger's Subaru shop won a Subaru Stellar Care Award certificate in the first year of the award's inception. It rewards dealers for paying special attention to their customers and is based on customer service as well as customer satisfaction.
He shed some light on what it takes to be a good salesperson.
"Personality is more than half the battle. You need to be open, friendly, enjoy talking to people, working with people, paying attention to them and their needs, and having laser focus on fulfilling their needs and satisfying them.
General manager at the new dealership and parts and service manager at Subaru, Shawn McMillian believes in Hanenberger's business philosophy and extends that outlook inside the company as well.
"It's about customer service in our business, from top to bottom. If your employees aren't happy, it's impossible to keep your customers happy," he said.
Building a store with the right people is important to the owner and general manager.
The Ford dealership has gone through many owners and transitions in the past, said Hanenberger, who wanted to make it clear that "this time it is for real."
He has no ambitions to own another dealership. He wants to make the two he already owns flourish and prosper.
Hanenberger, McMillian and John Sciacca, the general manager at Subaru, make a team that believe in the right approach to customer service
"I really look at the three of us as being almost like a three-headed monster, in a good way," Hanenberger laughed. "We're working together as a leadership team and bringing on sales, services, and parts, while bringing the same focus on customer satisfaction at Subaru over to Ford and having a great two store, two roof-top company."
Hanenberger and McMillian also stressed the importance of their involvement in the community. They enjoyed working with the Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as Green Up Vermont. One of their goals is to pay it forward, since they've experienced some success themselves.
"We're going to build that footprint in our community and that'll come from the more success we have here," Hanenberger said.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org