This post is part of Kitchissippi Favourites, a series of sponsored profiles about some great local businesses. You can find them all in the November 12 issue of KT. Love local? Shop local!
Carling Motors has been a fixture in Ottawa since 1957, the first to sell imported cars in the city. New general manager Jean Levesque thinks he knows the secret to their longevity: making it the absolute best place to work in town.
“It’s a very different kind of organization than any other car dealership that I’ve ever seen,” Levesque says. “You go into our body shop and many people there have been here for 20 or 30 years. That’s huge! We probably have a dozen employees who have been here their entire lives. The owners treat people very well, and when you treat people well and you care about your employees, that trickles down to how your customers feel about the business.”
There’s not much in the way of hierarchy at the dealership, with Levesque himself often helping out with test drives, fill ups, or paperwork. That means that all staff are fully empowered to make the right decision for the customer, ensuring every customer leaves happy. And with a #1 rating for sales satisfaction in all of Ontario, they certainly do seem to have the right approach to taking care of their community.
“It’s nice to do the right thing,” explains Levesque. “It’s a good feeling, personally. You see these people at the hockey arena, you see them at the restaurants, at the grocery store, and it’s just good for business. Customers feel great, and also for the employees – when you empower them and they know you’re going to do the best for the customer – it’s actually very rewarding for an employee to come into work and represent us.”
It definitely helps to have a great line up of cars on the lot, and both the Volvo and Mazda lines offered at their Westboro location are superstars. On the Volvo side, the brand new XC-90 is touted as the safest SUV in the world, and with innovative technologies like self-correcting steering, full 360-degree parking cameras, and automatic pedestrian and bike avoidance, it certainly lives up to its claim. Plus, the car networks with other Volvos nearby to let them know of any adverse weather or road conditions, making the streets safer for everyone in general. Says Levesque, “I haven’t driven a vehicle like this in my whole life, and I’ve driven everything.”
On the Mazda side, the Mazda 3 holds strong as one of the most reliable and cost-effective cars on the market. “I tell people, if you ever had to drive a car around the world, just take a Mazda 3,” says Levesque.
And if something does goes wrong with your lovely new vehicle? Carling Motors has got you covered. Their team of Master Technicians can handle absolutely anything, plus their central location and four full-time shuttles mean drop off and pick up are a breeze – making all service appointments as painless as possible.
Despite being in the same footprint for years, Carling Motors is still looking forward to the future, and to being an active part of Kitchissippi. They’ve just made a large donation to the Dovercourt Recreation Centre, and they’re excited to help out all the young families they see moving into the neighbourhood. To fit in with the active and growing area, the Volvo building will be undergoing a full facelift in the near future.
But as much as things change, the more they stay the same – employee and customer satisfaction will always come first. Says Levesque, “To be #1, it’s a pretty big thing for us, and we’re really proud of that.”
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