Letter: Owner reflects on 25 years in operationIn 1987, when Hastings Automotive first opened its doors, I doubt anyone from this area would have believed that 25 years later we would still be in business. After all, from 1980 to 1987 four other entities had tried and failed to operate the Ford dealership successfully in Hastings.
To the editor,
In 1987, when Hastings Automotive first opened its doors, I doubt anyone from this area would have believed that 25 years later we would still be in business. After all, from 1980 to 1987 four other entities had tried and failed to operate the Ford dealership successfully in Hastings. That said, on July 28, Hastings Automotive not only celebrated its 25th anniversary, but went from being the “new guy,” to the longest operating car dealership in town.
More than two decades ago, my wife and I moved to Hastings investing nearly everything we had in Hastings Automotive. At the time I was interested only in creating a profitable business, so I could survive and live the American dream. For a while that worked; however it wasn’t long before I realized there had to be more to life than financial success.
In the mid 90’s, my life began a dramatic change. I began to apply what I was hearing in church and reading in my Bible to what I was doing Monday through Saturday. I began to view coworkers as gifts from God who willingly chose to join me in providing a service to our community, rather than a means to accomplish my goals. Likewise, customers became friends and family, not just a vehicle needed to achieve my financial independence. Hastings became my home, rather than the place in which I could operate a profitable business.
Henry Ford once said, “Business must be run at a profit, else it will die. But when anyone attempts to run a business solely for profit and thinks not at all of the service to the community, then also the business must die, for it no longer has reason for existence.”
Over the years, Hastings Ford and Hastings Chrysler have been blessed to partner with many organizations that make this community great. Investing in organizations like the Hastings Public School Foundation, YoungLife, Saturday Night Cruise-ins and Hastings Total LifeCare Center has helped me understand our reason for existence isn’t solely for profit.
While our dealerships have been recognized and received considerable appreciation for our generosity, it is our customers who deserve the credit. So do us a favor, if you see one of our customers driving a car with our logo, please thank them. Without them, we wouldn’t be here or able to support this community. In addition to our loyal customers and this great community, I need to recognize my amazing co-workers, whom I am privileged to work alongside each day. They are truly gifts from God and their demonstration of the “heart of a servant” has pushed our dealerships’ success to new heights.
The question I continually ask myself is, how did we get from being the “new guy” to being able to celebrate a quarter century of business? How did we survive the recessions and the near financial disaster of both Ford and Chrysler? I believe God brought me to Hastings where the community gave the “new guy” an opportunity to succeed. I also believe God directed me to a place where customers, co-workers and our community forgave my failures and shortcomings, affording me a second chance. Proverbs 20:24 best describes the past 25 years I’ve spent in Hastings. “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”
On behalf of Hastings Ford and Hastings Chrysler, thank you to all who have contributed to our longevity and success. To God be the glory!
— Doug Erickson