Wegner Auto Company
Another Family Business Profile from FBE…
In 1907, Henry J. Wegner borrowed money from his father, bought some land and opened a machine shop in Pierre, South Dakota. There were only three automobiles in Pierre at the time, but H.J. had a vision that the automobile was here to stay and he wanted to be a part of that future. So he established the Wegner Auto Company.
Wegner’s first car franchise was the R.E.O., which had trouble climbing the hills around Pierre. H.J. was a mechanic and innovative, so he designed and built new axles that allowed the cars to better handle the hills. In 1910, H.J. heard about the new and powerful Buick being built, so he acquired a Buick franchise. Today, Wegner Auto Company is proudly the oldest Buick Dealer in the world operating under the same family name.
Wegner Auto Company:
And Community Involvement
Wegner Auto Company has remained in the family for all these 98 years, and currently the 4th generation owners operate the business. Jim and Jenny Wegner (brother and sister) work well together; their individual skills complement each other. Jim is more involved in the accounting side and Jenny the personnel side. They both share a commitment to customer service and excellence, something handed down to them from past generations.
In 1907, Wegner Auto employed two people; today the company employs 54 and continues to grow and prosper. The company has grown from one location to two, and vehicle sales have grown consistently over the years. Wegner Auto has also become a major service center in Central South Dakota, growing from 2 service bays to 18. Through the years, the Wegner family has been an integral part of the Pierre community including political positions, a lot of civic involvement, and key leadership roles in the business community.
Secret To Success:
Leadership and innovation
The leadership qualities passed down through the generations have been an important factor in Wegner’s success, according to Jenny Wegner. “Leadership is something stressed in our family and our family business,” she says. “During the good times, leadership by Wegners helped to build the business, look for opportunities, and be innovative. Even more importantly, during the hard times, leadership inspired even more innovation and creativity to keep both the business and the family values intact and committed to the vision that H.J. Wegner established. There were many times in our history that were difficult, including the start-up years, the Depression years, and the war years. But we've always been creative and managed to adapt and survive and prosper.”
Check out their web site at http://www.wegnerauto.com/
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