SANTA FE, New Mexico — Lexus of Santa Fe has discovered the secret to increasing service-department visits and making customers smile — a 12-pound puppy named Bella.
Bella, a Jack Russell and French bulldog mix, is the official greeter at the dealership and a dedicated helper in the parts-and-service department where her owner, purchasing associate Will Kopper works.
Bella reports for work wearing a backpack, so she can deliver keys to customers, an oil filter to a technician or a stapler to the sales team.
"I figured if I was going to work, so was she," Kopper said.
Patrons always want to pet her, Kopper told Edmunds, some stopping by just to see her.
"She puts a smile on everyone's face," he said. "Try to frown when petting a puppy."
That goes for employees, too, General Manager Audrey Allison told Edmunds.
Allison met Bella the same day Kopper picked her from a fellow employee's litter. It marked the moment when the entire dealership fell in love with her.
"I told him, 'You will bring her to work with you,'" Allison said. "We've always been a pet-friendly store but have become even more so with Bella by always having dog bones and dog biscuits on hand."
Kopper followed orders and Bella has become the dealership's mascot for about the past four months.
A few customers have already asked to "pre-order" future pups from Bella's parents.
Allison has added Bella to the dealership's TV commercials as well.
"Bella has made a big difference at Lexus of Santa Fe," Allison said.
Edmunds says: A lovable canine helps one dealership build lasting relationships.