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The soft sell during hard times.

Despite Faltering Automobile Sales Nationwide, Russell Chevrolet-Honda Of Sherwood Sticks To A Low-Pressure Approach

During the recession, automobile dealers are having to work extra hard to sell cars and trucks.

Bob and Rick Russell will tell you that's true even at their dealership, Russell Chevrolet-Honda Inc. of Sherwood.

But lagging sales and a shrinking profit margin have not caused the Russell brothers to abandon the strategy they believe is a large part of their success.

"We're not a high-pressure, yell-and-scream dealership," says Bob Russell, 53. "We leave it up to the customer."

The brothers learned that sales philosophy from a couple of pros.

"Our father |John Russell~ went to work for Johnny Critz, who owned Critz Chevrolet, in 1946," Bob Russell says.

In January 1963, John Russell bought out Critz and formed Russell Chevrolet. The brothers became co-owners of the dealership in 1975 when their father retired.

"|Johnny Critz's~ dealership and my dad's dealership were run basically the same way," Bob Russell says. "My brother and I continue their tried-and-true approach."

Russell Chevrolet-Honda is listed among Chevrolet's and Honda's top dealerships nationally.

While their more subtle sales approach usually is credited, Russell says a lack of turnover among the 135 employees counts for a lot. There's a century of employment at Russell Chevrolet-Honda among the company's seven department managers.

Although 1991 sales were down, the dealership exceeded national averages.

"I look for it to pick up in '92," Bob Russell says.

The brothers don't have expansion plans, but that doesn't mean they aren't thinking ahead. Bob Russell's son, Brett, 24, and Rick Russell's son, Shan, 25, entered the family business after graduating from college.

"I guess you could say we're grooming them to take over," Bob Russell says.
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Title Annotation:Russell Chevrolet-Honda Inc.
Author:Harper, Kim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Jan 20, 1992
Previous Article:'No free shots.' (columnist John Robert Starr's attitude)
Next Article:Solid success from solid waste.

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