CALEDONIA – The Two Row Times recently had a chance to visit the Winegard Ford dealership in Caledonia where we were greeted with smiles in a friendly atmosphere. We sat down with Jerry Winegard to learn more about his family’s history in the business and the products and services his business offers.
The Winegard Ford dealership wasn’t always called by that name and it has changed quite a bit over the years, but the location hasn’t. The Winegard family has owned and operated the lot since September of 1946, though they first ran it under the name of Texaco, offering service and gas to locals and customers passing through Caledonia.
In the mid 50s, the business began dealing the car known as the Studebaker, created and manufactured exclusively in Hamilton. In 1958, they became a Mercury dealership, and in 1966 they became a dual Ford-Mercury Franchise. In 1978 Lincoln was added as a product line available at the dealership. In 2006, Mercury and Ford amalgamated, and ever since it has been the Winegard Ford Lincoln dealership.
The original building was only one structure, but over the years, various additions have been made. Over the course of 69 years the dealership has completed 5 expansions by constructing 5 different buildings that are all connected, leading into one another through doors and walkways. There are 4 generations working in this family run business, with family members in the new and used sales department, finance office, and service desk.
Jerry Winegard, co-owner and sales representative, has been in the business 40 years. We asked him what his favourite part of the job is, to which he replied “Seeing the look on people’s faces when you hand them the key to their newly acquired automobile. We want them to keep the delighted feeling. Once it’s theirs, you can see they feel really good.”
Jerry went on to explain that he has seen a lot of changes and improvements over his long career. “Safety features have really been perfected, with numerous air bags throughout vehicles, collision warnings, rear cameras, and the ability of high tech operating system to self-park.”
Winegard Ford also has great perks in newer vehicles like heated seats and remote starters for the colder months of the year. Jerry also explained that he has seen an improvement in the quality of leather used, and other cars with carpet offer an environmentally friendly furnished option. “Cars that are manufactured with carpet material for seating are actually using recycled textiles. Textile manufacturers end up with extra pieces of material that can be used for car furnishing. Trying to be environmentally responsible, our car manufacturers use this material instead of letting it be wasted, so customers can feel good.”
Jerry also explained that having a finance office in the dealership means customers don’t even have to go to the bank to finance their new vehicle. “We have a one stop shop, so we can make their life as easy as possible.”
Ron Winegard, co-owner and sales department rep, was proud to share that the company has won dozens of customer satisfaction awards. “We get a lot of compliments from people. Someone visited another franchise and came back to Winegard, saying how much they appreciate our customer service and family atmosphere.”
Ron says, “At Winegard Motors our customers are a lot more than just another sale to us. We live by that attitude, remember that attitude and customers always know that their best interests are in the front of our minds.”
Winegard’s service department is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm, and Saturday from 8am until 12noon. The sales department is available Monday to Thursday from 9am until 8pm, Friday from 9am to 5pm and Saturday from 9am until 4pm. Come in for a visit to the show room today!