The Brazil Autoplex sign will soon come down. In its' place will be a new sign for York Chevrolet. Meanwhile, a letterhead illustrates the change in ownership. Rob York (lower right) runs the Brazil dealership. The change officially took place Thursday.
Out with the old, in with the new. As of Thursday, Brazil Autoplex is no more. Also gone is the big bird and its cry, "Fifteen smiles east of Terre Haute - Squawk!"
In its place is the new York Chevrolet-Pontiac-Buick. Also in its place, is a new attitude of openness and service, dealer Rob York said Friday,
York, 36, is excited about being a part of the Clay County community and is excited about serving local residents.
"Local," being the operative word.
"I feel that you have to take care of your own back yard first," he said.
Of course, if people from Vigo County want to drive to Brazil to shop, that is OK, too. "We're just 10 minutes from the east side of Terre Haute."
At the top of the York letterhead is the slogan, "We're not #1, you are!" and York has already passed that philosophy on to his sales staff.
"We have a great team, great people," he said. But, "I told them about our policy of openness, honesty and service and said, 'If you can't be a part of that, we'll part as friends,' he said. "We want to be local, small town and hometown. We are working very hard at being honest and putting service back into the dealership."
One reason for emphasizing openness and honesty has to do with the size of our community.
"We're not a big city like Indianapolis," he said. "We have to rely on repeat business and referrals."
York tries to meet 100 percent of the people who enter his dealership. His office is not buried in the main, new car/service building. He has taken an office in the used car building, immediately east of the new car office on U.S. 40 on Brazil's West Side. To this day, selling a car is his favorite activity, though running a dealership has many responsibilities.
"To me, there is nothing prettier than to see a car setting on the lot as a customer takes possession of it," he said.
York has been in the business since 1985, when he worked for Bernard James in a dealership.
The York family, Rob; a brother, Nick; and their father, Robert York I, are all in the automobile business.
Nick has run the York Chrysler dealership in Crawfordsville for five years and his Dad has run the Bob York Pontiac-GMC dealership in Greencastle for 18 years, both in small town communities, similar to Brazil.
Rob graduated from Greencastle High School in 1987 and earned a degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana University in 1991 (He has always been fascinated by the law.)
He then took the National Automotive Dealers Association Dealer Candidate Academy Course and worked in each department of an automobile dealership over an 18-month period.
Rob is also a family man. His wife's name is Tammy and the couple have three sons, Robert York III (aka Trey), 12; Brady, 9; and Colin, 5.
Rob's emphasis on service is seen in his commitment to the local community. He has applied for membership in the Brazil Rotary Club (motto: "Service Above Self") and was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Greencastle for many years.
"My fondest memories of the Jaycees were the times we provided Thanksgiving dinners for the less fortunate," he said.
Automotive industry future looks good
York is excited about the future of the car and truck business and about the future of Clay County.
Chevrolet is working on more fuel-efficient vehicles. More hybrid models are being developed, and a full-size pickup is now available. Bi-fuel vehicles are designed to run on gasoline or either liquefied propane or compressed natural gas.
"One of the coolest things is the new engine that will run on eight cylinders under load but will also run on four or six cylinders to save fuel when full power is not needed," he said.
Clay Co. is poised for growth
He feels Clay County is poised for economic growth.
"The future of this area is very good," he said, comparing the diversity of industry in Clay County compared to Putnam County. Much of Putnam County's industry is tied to the automotive industry, while Clay County is home to Great Dane, making semi trailers; MI Home Products; and the relatively new Brickcraft plant. "I'm very proud Clay County has a YMCA. Greencastle doesn't have one."
One impediment to growth has been the drug problem in Putnam, Clay and Vigo counties which he describes as "terrible," but which, he believes is starting to be controlled.
As the interview drew to a close, York emphasized he is a team builder. It's not one person in the York dealership that will make the difference, but he wants to build a strong team in his business and he says the county must work together as a strong team to make a difference, too.
"You need to give back to your community and care for those less privileged," he said. "We, together, can make a difference."