- Gillman Subaru North estimates three-quarters of its owner base have and/or love animals, so they have made the entire dealership pet-friendly.
- From the portable water bowls on the dealership floor to the pet-transfer safety cages offered to buyers, pet owners know Gillman is a dealership that appreciates the animal members of the family.
- General Manager Yeong Won told Edmunds: "We encourage prospective owners to bring their pets to our dealership and try out various ways to drive with them safely."
HOUSTON— Gillman Subaru North takes the Subaru brand's pet-friendly reputation seriously.
How can you tell? Well, there's the Dog Days of Summer event, held at the dealership on July 17, which included a Top Dog contest giving prizes for Cutest, Ugliest, and Best Costumed dogs, Best Dog Trick, and best Owner/Dog Lookalike. While pet owners munched on coney dogs and shaved-ice snow cones, dogs got treats and free grooming services. Perhaps best of all, Gillman Subaru North invited the local Lone Star Animal Welfare League to run on-site pet adoptions.
General Manager Yeong Won told Edmunds that it's all about catering to the dealership's customer base, which he estimates is 75 percent pet aficionados.
"We go out of our way to connect with them by making our dealership pet-friendly," he said.
Gillman Subaru North is part of the Gillman Companies, a 76-year-old group of 14 auto dealerships based in Houston. The Subaru dealership, says Won, picks up Subaru's Dog Tested, Dog Approved theme on its Web site and with "a major outdoor showing on a very busy interstate freeway" as well as on displays inside the dealership.
But the dog love at Gillman Subaru North goes beyond mere signage. Customers can see the pet-friendly environment everywhere they look, including "free doggie treats in the service department, leashes, and portable water bowls displayed throughout the dealership," said Won.
Subaru offers a line of accessories for pets and their owners, and these play "a significant role" in the Gillman marketing program, Won said. They are displayed in the showroom and service areas.
When it comes to buying a Subaru itself, "we encourage prospective owners to bring their pets to the dealership and try out various ways to drive with them safely," Won said.
Gillman Subaru North also encourages shoppers to take a car home and ensure it will work for the way they live with their pets. The dealership also offers a safety cage for pets to ride in, he said.
But Gillman Subaru North gives pet owners more than a pat on the head: The dealership is involved with local pet events in the Houston area throughout the year, including Spring Bark, Pet Fest, and Mutts with Claus, and, Won said: "Our entire staff is proud of our association with the Lone Star Animal Welfare League."
By maintaining an atmosphere "that any family member will find welcoming," Won said that, "It may sound strange, but the dealership even has owners who bring in their dogs just to hang out for a while."
Edmunds says: That shows what happens when a dealer shows loyalty to the brand image and the needs of the customer.