VANCOUVER, Washington — There is always something cooking at Kuni Automotive Group's headquarters, nicknamed The Garage.
Kuni sells Cadillac, Chevrolet, Land Rover, Volkswagen, Infiniti, BMW, Lexus, Honda, Porsche and Audi vehicles through 16 dealerships in four Western states, but the heart of the privately held auto retailer is The Garage's gourmet kitchen known as the Fueling Station.
Not only is it a place to prepare meals and dine, CEO Greg Goodwin also uses the Fueling Station to connect with both the building's 70 employees and the remaining 1,400 associates throughout the Kuni chain, as well as the community as a whole.
Each week he brings in Sarah Carlson, a personal chef with The Red Hare, who cooks the staff a healthy lunch subsidized by Kuni.
Recently, Goodwin noticed his colleagues approaching the chef during lunch, asking her advice on how to prepare specific dishes.
"This kept happening over and over, so I asked Chef Sarah if she would be interested in offering the staff some cooking classes," he told Edmunds. "She said 'yes' and we'll have a series of them starting very soon."
"A bus shows up with about 12 elementary school kids and they meet with their Kuni Big Brother or Big Sister and have lunch and do an activity," Goodwin explained.
"It sends a message to the young people and the staff that it's important to have fun when you're working," he said.
Goodwin also allows nonprofit groups to use the kitchen during off hours and host parties at The Garage.
"We like to help our community," he said.
Edmunds says: A gourmet kitchen helps one dealership group serve up community outreach and employee satisfaction.