Sponsored by Steve Marshall Ford | Impress Branded Content
In an industry traditionally dominated by males, Ann Marie Clark’s car dealership, Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln, continues to motor ahead.
This March marks a milestone anniversary for the family business that has been serving the Nanaimo area since 1997 at 3851 Shenton Rd.
“I can’t believe it has been 20 years already,” said Clark, who was born into the auto business.
The milestone recently had the dealership’s head matriarch cruising down memory lane.
“My business card says my age, plus nine months – that’s how long I’ve been in this industry.”
Clark was just 11 years old when she started answering phones and filing during the weekends at her father’s dealership in Campbell River.
“I’ve done every job in the dealership, except for a couple, and covered summer vacations while in university. I have been around the block longer than I care to admit,” she laughed.
Proudly dubbed ‘Mama Bear’ by her team, there’s an undeniable family atmosphere at Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln that makes guests and staff feel at home sweet home the second they step inside.
Clark credits the longevity and success of her premier retailer of new Ford and Lincoln and pre-owned Lincoln vehicles to that friendly, nurturing environment.
“We’re like one big happy family here run by a great group of amazing people who truly care about what they do – we’re not in the car business, we’re in the people business.”
Clark says her team creates the best place to work by taking care of one another while having fun.
“We nurture this type of atmosphere so that it becomes second nature to take care of our guests beyond their expectations. Coming to a dealership shouldn’t be stressful. We believe we can add automotive value and build relationships that last a lifetime.”
Recently, a team member went above and beyond his job to help out a colleague whose infant son was going for open-heart surgery.
“Our technician, Jordan, went around and helped raise $2,500, from staff, for this young father to help him be with his son,” said Clark.
“There’s just so much love and support – people here genuinely like and care about each other.”
And when you have a strong team, top-notch customer service ensues.
“We have a wonderful family member, Shelly, who loves to surprise and delight our guests each shift – she’ll often choose someone who she can tell is having a hard day and take care of part or all of their bill or just give them a gift, ” said Clark.
“We have had so many people leave with happy tears.”
Some may view being a woman in a predominately male industry as a disadvantage, but not Clark.
“I find it’s a lot easier,” says Clark, especially when it comes to cheering up staff.
“If someone’ having a bad day, it’s just in my nature to go over and give them a hug – it’s easy for me.”
It’s also an advantage for female customers.
“When a woman walks into the dealership and is feeling intimidated or scared that they’re going to be taken advantage of, I enjoy helping them feel safe and confident. Alternatively, if an angry gentleman comes in, it’s easier to calm him down – there isn’t that battle of testosterone.”
Taking first place two years in a row for ‘Best Place to Buy a Used Vehicle’ and ‘Best Auto Servicing’ from Nanaimo News Bulletin’s annual Best of the City survey, Clark’s dedicated sales staff and top-trained technicians are here to make your automobile ownership fun and easy.
All vehicles are put through a 150++point inspection to ensure they are mechanically sound and safe to drive.
“We do offer maintenance packages and extended warranties for Ford vehicles and all other makes and models for protection and peace of mind,” said Clark.