Montrose Auto Group Makes Hiring Military Veterans a Priority | Edmunds

Montrose Auto Group Makes Hiring Military Veterans a Priority


Just the Facts:
  • The Montrose Auto Group of Akron, Ohio, makes support for U.S. military veterans a centerpiece of its marketing and advertising.
  • The auto group employs more than 100 veterans in its 13 dealerships across northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
  • The Montrose Auto Group's "No Customer Left Behind" campaign includes a Freedom Wall in each dealership on which veterans can sign their names.

AKRON, Ohio — The Montrose Auto Group has 13 dealerships selling 12 brands, but the company is most proud of the number 100: More than 100 military veterans are employed by the dealer group.

Founded by Vietnam veteran Mike Thompson, the Montrose dealership group puts out broadcast, print and digital ads leaning heavily on the concept of thanking, supporting, and working with military veterans.

Founder and CEO Thompson says in online advertisements, "There is tremendous sentiment recently about hiring smart — hiring a vet?We've been practicing that philosophy for the past 35 years."

A notable recent hire is group spokesman Christopher Heben, a 15-year veteran of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs and a native of Ohio. Heben is a centerpiece of Montrose dealerships' advertising.

Montrose's dealerships stretch across northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

A Freedom Wall at each dealership is a place for veterans who visit the dealership to sign their names. Montrose Community Relations Manager John Allensworth, himself a vet, told Edmunds that, "Whether they purchase a car or not, when they come in, we ask veterans to sign the wall to show they've been there. When the walls are full, we're planning to frame them and keep them on display to honor the veterans."

Allensworth said at least 40 to 50 veterans, along with the general public, have come to each of the dealership's Salute to Veterans cookouts this summer. The events started on July 9, with the final cookout slated for August 13. Each week's cookout is held at a different Ohio dealership in the Montrose group. SEAL veteran Heben attends in his role as Montrose's spokesman and sings the national anthem and other songs. The patriotic-themed events feature free hot dogs, hamburgers, beer and soft drinks, and free oil changes for all current and former military personnel.

Allensworth told Edmunds that the dealerships don't have a direct measurement of how the veteran focus affects sales.

"It's pretty hard to put an analytic on something like this, but we know we're doing the right thing, and if you continue to do the right thing, you're going to sell more cars, period," he said.

Edmunds says: It's good business to hire military vets and to celebrate their sacrifices, as this savvy dealership group knows.

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