Mitsubishi Motors Dealer Partner Spotlight – Shirlie Slack Mitsubishi: a family-run business that treats everyone like family
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is celebrating dealer partners who go above and beyond for their communities. They provide more than just a great place to buy a car – they help their home towns thrive in the good times and heal in the challenging times. They rise to the occasion in support of the community, whatever the occasion may be. This month, we are proud to feature Laurie Slack, general manager of Shirlie Slack Mitsubishi in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Five Questions with Laurie Slack
General Manager, Shirlie Slack Mitsubishi
- Shirlie Slack Mitsubishi has been family owned and operated for more than 50 years. It was started in 1968 by your mother Shirlie, who passed away just last year. What does it mean to you to carry on her legacy through the dealership?
The business started as a partnership between my mom and my dad. My dad was a teacher, and in 1958, my family moved from Massachusetts to Virginia so he could pursue a new teaching opportunity. My mom was a stay-at-home mother, and when their fourth child came along, my dad started selling cars after school on weekends to make ends meet. My mother went to work for the same car dealer doing administrative tasks. She got her own dealers license, and my dad retired from teaching to take on a fulltime job as a used car manager. A few years later, they joined forces to grow our business from a modest wholesale format to a large, wholesale and retail business.
I joined in 1973 upon graduating high school. Today, my sister Patty and I carry on our family business, guided by our family values: being fair to customers, both wholesale and retail, creating a family first work environment for our employees (Sundays off for family time) and providing everyone a prosperous compensation and health insurance. I try to think of how my mother would respond to the problems and controversies we face today and strive to emulate her ability to see all sides of an issue. My mother was always fair and kind to everyone, even though her Scotch nature and Nova Scotian upbringing had her watching all the pennies carefully to make sure we always were fiscally healthy as a company.
- How are you working to ensure that Shirlie Slack Mitsubishi is here to stay for the next 50 years?
The key to being here in fifty years will be adapting to innovations in the auto business. Patty and I firmly believe in customer service and personally ensure that our clients are taken care of, as if they were our children buying or servicing a car. I know that sounds cliché, but we are both on the floor, and stay right in the middle of our sales process, to ensure that is how every customer is treated fairly. The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander will deliver on style and function – what people want and need in a car. We can do the rest!
- In the era of COVID-19, how are you pivoting to make sure your business emerges stronger than ever?
We have persevered through many seismic movements in the auto business. This experience gave us the courage to face COVID-19, pivoting to digital retailing and online buying processes that make our clients feel comfortable and feel safe. Obviously, we implemented thorough safety measures in our showroom and throughout our business. The best thing we did was have the courage to "buy like crazy" in the worst of the pandemic and were very ready when the customers came back in force!
- How does Shirlie Slack Mitsubishi give back to the surrounding community, and why is it important for you to do so?
We support charities that we feel very passionate about, like the Faith and Family Foundation, which helps families raising children with serious illnesses. We also support So Others May Eat in Washington, D.C., which provides food, prepared meals and support for D.C.'s homeless and at-risk populations. We try to support our community in Fredericksburg and surrounding areas. We are Catholic Christians and feel charged to share our blessings!
- You are known throughout the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) region for exceptional customer service. Tell us about the Shirlie Slack way!
The Shirlie Slack way is to treat all clients fairly! We sell only our handpicked, high-quality pre-owned cars with warranties. We limit our finance department on profits to ensure fairness and repeat business; additionally, we prefer to sell extended service coverages, even if we do not profit from them to keep our clients covered on expensive repairs. As I said earlier, Patty and I believe in treating our customers as if they were one of our children purchasing the car! Think that level of care produces repeat business, and a large part of our monthly clients are repeat customers or friends or relatives they have sent our way.
About Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Through a network of approximately 350 dealer partners across the United States, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for the sales, research and development, marketing and customer service of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles in the U.S. 2019 marked the brand’s seventh consecutive year of sales growth, and MMNA was the top-ranked Japanese brand in the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality study, ranking sixth overall and experiencing the greatest year-over-year improvement of any brand.
Located in Franklin, Tennessee, MMNA is a part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Mitsubishi continues to lead the way in the development of highly efficient, affordably priced new gasoline-powered automobiles, while using its industry-leading knowledge in battery-electric vehicles to develop future EV and PHEV models.
For more information on Mitsubishi vehicles, please contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at (615) 257-2698 or visit media.mitsubishicars.com.
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