Hitting the ground running in Dacono
Dacono, Colo.—Dacono has a population of 4,100, though gauging from a building boom of emerging home divisions, shopping centers and outlets along I-25 north of Denver, that’s about to change. And has been changing.
“It keeps growing — it’s constantly growing,” said Heidi Wood, parts manager for Rickenbaugh Infiniti of Dacono. “I grew up in this area and I’ve watched it continually expand.”
Formerly the dealership’s assistant parts manager, Wood assumed the parts manager role two months ago. Ryan Davis came on board at the same time to join the parts team from a Honda dealership.
Wood grew up in the industry: her father was a bodyman technician at the former Denver Peterbilt (now Rush Truck Center, in Commerce City) and she used to race cars at I-76 Speedway.
“I was always around it, whether at home, at the raceway or fiddling around in the garage. I even married a technician.”
Wood said one priority is marketing Rickenbaugh Infiniti’s parts department more aggressively. “A lot of people don’t know we’re here, still to this day, five years after we opened. Print advertising has helped a lot and we’ve designed flyers to be mailed soon throughout the area.
“There’s not another Infiniti dealer on this side of the state. We’re the only one north of I-70.”
Wood carries over $200,000 in inventory, the majority of which is mechanical, though that will be changing, too. “We don’t have the space to carry a lot for collision, but we’re working our way up to it. We’re going to grow it because I thrive in that,” she said, adding that the facility was designed and built with future expansion in mind.
Areas of delivery reach Sterling, Cheyenne, Lyons, Fort Collins and everywhere in between. “We deliver all the way around,” she said, adding other dealerships are a mainstay of their business, as well as rental car agencies. “They only want to put OEM parts on their customers’ cars, just like we do.”
Rickenbaugh often offers aftermarket price-matching for its collision parts. “Most of the time we can price match for any body shop, even if it’s just 5 percent — OEM is the way to go. Everybody gets the same price break, right down the line.”
Hiring new staff, service department
“The industry is difficult enough to get quality people hired, and we face competition from surrounding chain stores, restaurants, construction and labor. We also have a strict drug policy that requires a drug test and background check — we just don’t hire anybody.”
The service department presently has an apprentice tech, who studied automotive technology in high school, and is now working with a master tech to develop his skills.
“We’re a close-knit family here. Martin Vierow is the parts and service director, and if either the service department or parts department needs assistance, there’s always a willing and helping hand available to pitch in. We’re such as small dealership that we all work together.
“Whenever someone needs a part, I know right where it is — my husband tells me I have a built-in catalog. Even to this day, I know part numbers from when I worked at Toyota — part numbers are my thing. We’re very well organized here.”
Rickenbaugh features eight service bays with Rotary Lifts. It, too, has experienced growth since the dealership opened, Wood said.
“Sometimes we would service just two or three cars a day when we first opened with three technicians. Now we repair up to 30 vehicles on any given day with five technicians and three lube techs.”
She said she’s come a long way from her start as a parts driver in 1994 for Big A Auto Parts, eventually working her way up to parts manager.
Her career took her to dealerships for Toyota, Nissan and, today, to Rickenbaugh Infiniti, where she has been since its doors opened in September 2013.
“It all fell into my lap and has worked out really well.”