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      2/24/2005  

 

 

 

 

 

Thoroughbred Ford
takes over local dealership

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

A well-known Northland car dealer has driven its way into Platte City.

Thoroughbred Ford officially took over All-Pro Ford, formerly Deron Cherry's All Pro Ford, 1600 Prairie View Rd., at 7 a.m. on Monday.

According to Dave Rittman, Thoroughbred Ford manager of operations at the Barry Road and Platte City locations,Thoroughbred originally started in the inner city of Kansas City, which taught the staff to be a “first class facility.”

“Our store started in the inner city of Kansas City at Independence and Paseo. Most people don’t think of the inner city as a good business location,” said Rittman. “For us it was a good location. It has taught us to deal with people in every kind of situation and know we can do something to meet everybody’s needs. We’re a one-stop shop.”

Thoroughbred, which moved to Barry Road in 1998, was the winner of its first President’s Award by Ford Motor Company in 1999.

“We’ve been the President’s Awards Winner for several years. It’s presented to the top three percent of all Ford stores nationally,” said Rittman.

It’s a dealership that prides itself on being a family operation.

“We’re local Platte County folks, most of our employees live in Platte County, our general manager lives in Platte County, and a number of people live in the community,” stated Rittman. “This will be the first time since Bob Booth left that local people have operated this facility. We’re local people really looking to make a difference and we’re really looking forward to it.”

For Rittman and his staff, that means operating the store as if they were the customer.

“The way we look at it is, ladies and gentlemen taking care of ladies and gentlemen.”

Rittman continued, “We want to bring a first class facility to Platte City. Not only customer friendly, but also a casual environment facility that at the same time has all the technological advantages only available at larger stores, like Barry Road.”

In order to ensure that first class facility in Platte City, Rittman said one of the first steps has been to increase the store’s inventory.

Over the weekend, Thoroughbred Ford brought in an additional 150 new and used vehicles, to bring the total stock quantity to 250 vehicles.

“Our goal is to have a very strong selection of vehicles of all types. If we don’t have it, nine miles down the road we have access to an inventory of 1,100 vehicles at our Barry Road location.”

As their fleet increases, so is their staff, according to Rittman. The new location will feature 50 staff members to assist customers, while the previous business employed 15 individuals.

Rittman said Thoroughbred has also decided to expand its service operations.

“We’re considering enhancing our facility aesthetically, as well as operationally,” said Rittman.

Hours for sales will now be from: 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Thursday, and 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday-Saturday. The new service hours will be: 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Saturday. The store will be closed on Sundays.

Rittman said the decision to expand the service and sales hours was made to better service customers. The service department will be opened to the public in two weeks.

“The service hours were extended so the customers can drop vehicles off before work and then we will offer our customers a service shuttle to take them to work in the area,” said Rittman.

Rittman also said that special arrangements can be made to pick-up their vehicle later, if they make the store aware in advance.

If the customer doesn’t prefer the shuttle, Thoroughbred-Platte City will offer a rental car service.

In regard to improving the facility aesthetically, Rittman said a possible expansion may be on the horizon for the Platte City location.

“For the past 30 days we’ve been consulting design architects to see how to make the facility more appealing to customers. Once those plans are complete, we'll have to take our ideas and present them to the city for their approval. Our goal is to create a more customer friendly environment,” said Rittman.

The transition from All-Pro Ford to Thoroughbred came about after the former owners elected to pursue other enterprises, stated Rittman.

“We felt this was a unique opportunity to expand our customer service in the Northland,” stated Rittman. “And it’s the individualized attention to our customers that’s going to make this store special.”

 

 
 

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