Winnipeg Free Press

Murray donates $100,000 for wildlife hospital, education centre

by Myron Love  . Jun 14 2019
SuppliedMurray Auto Group recently donated $100,000 to the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre. On hand for the presentation were the WHRC’s Morgane Moine (from left) (WHRC) with Avro, a Swainson’s hawk; Mitchell, Kelly and Dan Murray of Murray Chevrolet; WHRC executive director Zoé Nakata; WHRC board member Catherine Lee; WHRC education manager Jenna Martens; and WHRC board member Terry Egan, with Ash, a great grey owl.

Supplied

Murray Auto Group recently donated $100,000 to the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre. On hand for the presentation were the WHRC’s Morgane Moine (from left) (WHRC) with Avro, a Swainson’s hawk; Mitchell, Kelly and Dan Murray of Murray Chevrolet; WHRC executive director Zoé Nakata; WHRC board member Catherine Lee; WHRC education manager Jenna Martens; and WHRC board member Terry Egan, with Ash, a great grey owl.

There were two unusual visitors at Murray Chevrolet at the Waverley Auto Mall earlier this month. Zoé Nakata, the executive director of the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre, brought Ash, a great grey owl, and Avro, a Swainson’s hawk, with her to the dealership to accept a cheque for $100,000 from Kelly and Dan Murray and family and the Murray Auto Group in support of the 35-year-old organization.

The donation will go toward an ambitious, ongoing $3.5-million project aimed at building a permanent wildlife hospital and education centre — to be named the Murray Education Centre — on 18 acres of land, located just north of Île des Chênes.

Nakata said the education centre, opening this summer, will be a destination of choice for schools and will be open to the public to teach about wildlife. The centre, with an 80-person capacity, will also offer an alternative venue for weddings, family occasions or corporate events.

“We had been talking with Zoé and her staff for about a year,” Murray Chevrolet president Dan Murray said in his comments prior to the cheque presentation. “Kelly and I were out to visit the centre a few months ago. We were very impressed.”

Nakata said there is no government funding involved in this project.

As well as the cheque, Murray Chevrolet donated a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV LT to the centre for a three-year period.

Former journalist joins Gauthier Chrysler

For 25 years, Doug Lunney happily plied his trade as a journalist. But the former assistant managing editor, reporter, sports writer and columnist with the Winnipeg Sun long harboured a secret ambition.

Two years ago, when he was offered a buyout, he was finally able to pursue his long-standing dream — to go into auto sales.

“I have always been a car geek,” said Lunney, who joined the Gauthier Chrysler Dodge Ram Jeep sales team in mid-April after two years selling for a rural auto dealer. “I always enjoy reading the Free Press auto section, and I used to go to all the car shows during the summer.”

He has a passion for both new and old vehicles and has always been a big fan of Jeep products.

Lunney said the toughest part about auto sales is keeping yourself busy in a productive way. “You can sell three cars in five days and then go dry for a long spell,” he said. “You have to keep working the phones and following up on contacts.”

In an example of the old adage, “what goes around, comes around,” Lunney recounted how when the first Plymouth Prowler came out in 1997, he interviewed Bryan Ambrozik for an article about the car. Now Ambrozik, the new vehicle sales manager at Gauthier Chrysler, is one of his bosses.

Crown Nissan expansion complete

With the recent completion of its first major expansion since opening at the Waverley Auto Mall in 2006, Crown Nissan has become the first Nissan store in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to sport the new Nissan Canada NREDI 2.0 look.

“We have had nothing but positive feedback from our customers,” general manager Nick Guffei said. “Customers are telling us that our store now looks like a high-end luxury dealership.”

The expanded facility is double the size of the original building. The new showroom has room for up to 13 models — with a tablet beside each vehicle — compared to seven before. There is also a greatly expanded and spacious customer lounge, a new two-car delivery area, six additional service bays and two more service drive-thrus.

“We have added an alignment machine,” Guffei said. “And we are now EV (electric vehicle) certified.”

He said Crown Nissan has added four additional sales staff, three more service technicians and two more service staff as a result of the expansion, and is looking to hire more still.

The grand reopening will most likely be scheduled for late August.

Moves at Crown Mazda

Crown Mazda has a new management team, with Mark Carver taking over as general manager and Dalton Laba as sales manager.

For Carver, who has 25 years’ experience in auto sales, this is his third go-around as general manager at Crown Mazda.

“It feels good to be back here,” he said. “It feels like coming home again. We have a great team here.”

Dalton Laba has been in auto sales for five years. He had previously worked in management for a retail footwear chain.

“I really like Crown Mazda,” he said of his new store. “I like the staff and the product. It feels like a family-run business here.”

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