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Key Idea: Be Nice

Employees at Rodgers Chevrolet are family where the love and support sustain them in good times and bad.

Key Question:


Pamela Rodgers is very nice. She would fit right into Mr. Fred Rogers' Neighborhood. Some may think that being nice is being soft so they leave the nice part of their personality at the door when they walk into their place of business.

There's a plaque we have seen now in several retail places and it says, "If you can't be nice, leave." This is a way for business owners to require customers to be nice. We like this. All of us should be nice to one another.

How can being nice increase your profits?

A: You cannot build a business alone. You need an ecosystem of customers, employees, suppliers and vendors. If you are running a solid business and you pay people properly and you have in place your industry's best-practices, being nice will take you to the top. Everyone wants to do business with a nice person. Period.

Think about it

Would your employees describe you as a nice person? Would you customers say you are nice to them?

Clip from: Rodgers Chevrolet - Meet Pamela Rodgers!

Woodhaven, Michigan:  In a quiet suburb just south of Detroit, we go inside an American icon -- the car dealership -- to witness a "can-do" attitude in action. We meet a woman whose love affair with the car is as real and palpable as any romance going. And at this place where GM is sold, driving people to act upon that passion is her business.

Pamela Rodgers is the owner of Rodgers Chevrolet.  We learn that key to her repeat business success is service. From her originally designed, colorful waiting area featuring a speedway theme to a team of highly skilled service advisers, Rodgers Chevrolet is a company that never misfires when it comes to building long-term relationships with customers. This is a team that's as well trained in the mechanics of human dynamics as they are the electronics of today's automobile engine. Keeping that relationship running smoothly is a matter of individualized communications where customer satisfaction is not an optional service.

Pamela's story is all the more unique in that she is one of the few women in the world to own a dealership in her own right. It wasn't passed on to her by her father or a husband, and she took a failing location and turned it around.

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Rodgers Chevrolet

Pamela Rodgers, CEO

23755 Allen Road
Woodhaven, MI 48183

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1991

Be Nice

HATTIE: And do you think that being nice translates to the bottom line?

PAMELA: Do I think being nice translates to the bottom line? Yes -- I do – there is a thing called negative reinforcement and a thing called positive reinforcement.

It might not translate to the bottom line as quickly as negative reinforcement, but when it does transfer to the bottom line, I think you build a strong foundation. Something that can grow and nurture, that has roots -- if you will – where it won't blow away the first time something comes along. So, it may take longer to build, but it will be a much stronger sturdier tree when it does come to fruition.

HATTIE: Do you see the team at Rodgers – is this your family?

PAMELA: Yeah – I spend more time here than I do at home. They feel like family to me. We had an employee at one time and he had to leave us. So we had a little exit interview for him and we said, "What was the worst thing about working here?" He said, "People get in your business, they're always trying to find out what's going on – they're just nag, nag, nag." We said, "Okay, what was the best thing about working here?" He said, "People love you – they care about you, they nurture you." So -- yes, it is like family – just like family – you have your good times and your bad times and you just continue to grow together. Your biggest asset is your biggest headache - but you just have to love each other through the tough times and the good times.

HATTIE: Do you think back about why you might be so strong? Where do you think that comes from?

PAMELA: Well, I am very blessed. My grandfather was a graduate of the University of Michigan and he became a lawyer in the early 1900's. Followed by my uncle, who graduated from the University of Michigan, and was one of the first black judges in the Detroit area. Followed by my father, who is also an attorney and practiced with my grandfather and brother. So, knowing the prejudices and the obstacles they faced coming up – especially my grandfather in the early 1900's. And if he can make it back then without the support systems and networking that we have in place right now. Then I have no excuse not to face some of the diversity challenges that I have faced before in the past. Just knowing that it can be done -- we show that it can be done again.

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