Myron Love / Winnipeg Free Press
Bruce Gharabi (left), winner of a Ford Focus, with Vickar Ford managing partner Domenic Sacco. The next vehicle draw date will be May 2.
For retired computer programmer Bruce Gharabi, Valentine’s Day was most memorable. On Feb. 14, Gharabi — the winner of Vickar Ford’s inaugural car draw — picked up his new Ford Focus at the dealership to the cheers of Vickar Ford president Stephen Vickar, vice-president and managing partner Domenic Sacco and many of the dealership’s staff.
“I was shocked to have won,” the 70-year-old Gharabi says.
“I originally came into the store in November looking to buy a small car. Everybody was very friendly. Domenic called me just the other day to tell me that I had won. It is amazing that I was presented with my new car on Valentine’s Day.”
Sacco reports the upcoming second draw for a free car is open to anyone who comes in for a test drive. The next draw date will be May 2.
It has been an exciting time for the staff at Vickar Ford since the Vickar Auto Group purchased the long-standing north Winnipeg Ford store from Cam MacIver at the beginning of last year. Sacco reports sales were up last year — year over year — by more than 60 per cent and the number of employees has increased from 74 to 89.
Although the dealership was modernized in the fall of 2015, the new team has also overseen some additional renovations. The first thing a visitor to the store will notice is the absence of any walls in the showroom. Previously, the showroom had been divided in two by a reception desk with a wall behind it. Now, the reception desk is right in front of the main door. The change makes for a larger, brighter showroom.
The other major change is the enclosing of the vehicle delivery in the northeast corner of the building. “Our customers love it,” Sacco says of the enclosed delivery area, “especially considering how cold the winter has been this year. Our focus with our renovations was on providing a better customer experience overall.”
Sacco reports Vickar Ford is planning to have a grand reopening celebration some time in June.
As of the beginning of the year, Vickar Ford has become Manitoba’s third Roush Performance dealer. (The other Ford Roush dealers are Birchwood Keystone Ford on Regent and Kelleher Ford in Brandon.)
Roush produces aftermarket parts for improved performance, handling and suspensions for Ford cars and trucks, mainly the Ford Mustang, Ford Focus and Ford F-150, through select Ford dealerships.
Sacco notes becoming a Roush representative entailed specialized training by two Vickar Ford parts employees and a technician who is now specially designated to perform all the Roush applications.
Sales Rep: Jamie Wilkie
Dealership: Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat
No. of Years: Four months
Favourite Model: Dodge Challenger
Why: “The Challenger is a beautiful vehicle,” Wilkie says. “It has a retro design.”
MYRON LOVE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Winnipeg Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat sales representative Jamie Wilkie is a fan of the Dodge Challenger.