AutoExec Magazine Feature

OnTrack Then & Now –  Automotive Executive Magazine, Nov 2000

In November 2000, Auto Exec, the official magazine of the National Automotive Dealers Association, featured Reed Brothers Dodge in the “Then & Now” section. Published in McLean, Virginia, this magazine is a well-respected trade publication. The parent company of the magazine is National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Caption: ONE-STOP SHOP After working for IBM’s predecessor in Washington, D.C., Lewis Reed in 1915 set up a Dodge dealership in nearby Rockville, Md. When his brother Edgar returned from WWI, Lewis gave him one-third interest. (Lewis handled service and Edgar the front office.) Reed Brothers later carried Hudson and Oldsmobile, Goodyear tires, General Electric appliances, and had the first Gulf gas station in the still-rural D.C. area.

Caption, Top Left: RELATIVES, NOT RIVALS In 1949,  Lewis Reed persuaded son-in-law Lee Gartner – married to Reed’s only child, Mary Jane – to join the business. Today three of the Gartner’s four children run the show: Richard is President, Barry oversees service, and Bonnie Adams manages the front office.

Caption, Bottom Left: FARMING OUT BUSINESS Reed Brothers’ spread-out farmer customers sure could have used the Internet in the 1940s. Salesmen back then would drive as far as 35 miles to deliver cars. Today, the dealership has started to sell a few vehicles entirely online and delivered a used Jeep Grand Cherokee to a customer in New Jersey.

Caption, Top Right: GREAT EXPECTATIONS Consumers have “been educated to expect an awful lot,” says Lee Gartner. Still, Reed Brothers hasn’t needed an attorney for consumer-related problems in 20 years. “If you run a good house, you have very few problems,” says Gartner. That shows up in scores, too: Reed’s been a Five Star store since the program began.

Caption, Bottom Right: TURNOVER TURNAROUND Reed Brothers is the kind of business where many employees put in 30, 35 years. But that, too, is changing. “Turnover is unbelievable, ” says Lee Gartner. Tech retention is the biggest problem – “they sell their service. They know there’s a shortage.” The key, he adds: Treat them well.

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