Keeping everyone happy

Car dealership owner knows value of positive employee, customer relationships

Scott Cook enjoys seeing the same people over and over again. And he gets to because of customer loyalty at Cook Chevrolet in Craig and Steamboat Springs. Cook attributes customer loyalty to the brands he sells and the customer service his dealerships provide.

Once a Chevy or a Subaru driver -- always a Chevy or a Subaru driver. For car customers, it's not a question of what to buy, but where to buy.

Cook Chevrolet was founded in 1962, when Cook's father, Larry, partnered with Floyd Reed to open the business.

In the early 1970s, when Cook was playing football and basketball for the Moffat County Bulldogs, his father bought out Reed. Cook joined the business in 1979 after finishing college at Colorado State University.

With less than a year of sales experience, Cook took an opportunity to become general manager, and he now holds the reins of a dealership that employees 36 people.

The two locations in the valley work well, Cook said. The Craig location is more tied to the energy and ranching industries, and the Steamboat dealership offers sales in a tourist town. Often, one dealership will be busy while the other is steady, only to switch the next month.

After expanding to Steamboat 11 years ago, Cook is opening new facility on the city's west side. The Steamboat location will offer maintenance and service -- services customers used to have to travel to Craig for.

Steamboat clients tend to buy newer, more expensive cars, Cook said, but the Craig facility is always busy because ranchers and miners need trucks regardless of the price of gas. Craig also provides sales and service to the neighboring communities of Vernal, Utah; Baggs, Wyo.; and Meeker.

The people in the area are what make business successful. Cook said the dealership has quality employees and many good customers.

Cook's relationships with the community reach beyond his day job. He is the chairman of the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership and said he is optimistic about the future of Craig's economy. Cook said he is encouraged by the plans for a Wal-Mart and the continued energy boom, as well as new EDP leadership under the direction of Tim Gibbs.

Cook has been in Moffat County long enough to know that diversity in local business is what it will take to avoid a bust like that of the oil-shale boom in the early '80s.

"Craig needs to go back to being a shopping hub, as well as the hunting capital of Colorado and being just down-valley from Steamboat," he said.

What makes a business successful, Cook said, is taking care of your employees and customers and keeping them happy.

Cook stays happy by spending time with his wife, Kelly, and his children. He also enjoys driving a different car almost every day, though he said it's sometimes hard to find it in the parking lot at the end of the day.

When asked about his favorite car, he recalls the jeep he first drove as a youth and the '78 Corvette he had in college, but his favorite right now, he said, is the car he just sold that is being driven off the lot.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 208, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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