When it comes to a family business, Watkin Motors Ford takes the cake. Watkin Motors Ford was first established as a dealership in 1915 and is now the longest serving Ford dealership in Canada. Joe Watkin, the original owner, was the man who made this all happen.
The Blankley family has been involved with Watkin Motors Ford since 1931 when 14 year old Jack Blankley started in the car business at GM Vernon Garage and worked there until the purchase of Watkin Motors Ford in 1962. Thus, the Blankley family has come to call this dealership their second home. Jack’s son Don (aka Budd) joined the business in 1966 and brother Bruce, the current Dealer Principal in 1976. This is a third generation dealership.
Ross Blankley, General Manager at Watkin Motors Ford, has been working in the automotive industry since his early twenties, but his involvement actually began at a very young age. His grandfather and father both ran the dealership. Working at the dealership is natural for Ross, he loves helping people and he enjoys working with his family. “It is the smile on the person’s face when they pick up the vehicle,” comments Ross about his favourite part of the job. “It is nice to know that we can make people comfortable and gain their trust enough to buy from us. It is a great process.”
“We develop and maintain long, loyal, relationships with our customers while understanding and respecting their needs.” With Watkin being the oldest Ford dealership in Canada, they have been in the business so long that they know what exceptional service is, what fair pricing should look like and how to support the community where their family lives. Plus 60% of their staff have been in the business for over a decade.
Ross and the staff at Watkin Motors Ford believe in giving back to the community. Ross has no doubt that as a major company in the community, Watkin Motors has a corporate responsibility to support the community. Over the years they have been involved in many events and organizations, whether it be by the way of donations, contributions or volunteering. Some organizations they have paired with are the United Way, Vernon Rotary-On Line Auction, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Vernon Winter Carnival and Greater Vernon Minor Hockey to only name a few.
Watkin Motors Ford is excited about the new 2015 Ford F-150 lineup coming in the fall. It is lighter, stronger and has more capability than the previous generations of trucks. Ross also has a special attachment to the new 2014 Ford Escape. “It has the best capability for family usage, size for cargo, high fuel economy and the design is quite sleek and modern,” Ross adds.
Ross and his family plan to have the family business for many more years: “We will be here for a long time in the future,” says Ross. They will be celebrating 100 years in 2015. Watkin Motors Ford knows how the automotive business should be run: outstanding customer service first.