The tradition of owning Fords is something that started in Douglas Welch’s family long before he was born. It began in earnest when his grandfather, an Anglican minister in Bond Head, Ont., received a gift from a parishioner.
“In the 1960s, a man named Don Coffey, who is now in his 80s, gave (my grandfather) a brand-new station wagon,” Douglas shared. “Back then you took care of your minister, you know? So it kind of started there. My grandfather never forgot that and always bought Fords after that.”
Douglas’ father and uncles only drove Fords and his father even worked as a mechanic for a Ford dealership in the 1970s. It’s a passion that Douglas picked up as a youngster, working on Ford vehicles alongside his dad.
One of his fondest memories was when he and his dad ventured to Saskatchewan to scope out a 1951 F3. After buying it, they had it sent back to their home in Dundalk, Ont., where they “got to work.”
“We rebuilt the engine and did work on it together and he taught me how to drive it – it’s not an easy vehicle to drive, it’s not a standard like today. We take for granted how easy it is to operate cars today.”
Today, Douglas enjoys getting under the hood of his own Fords. In addition to his 2013 Ford Escape that he drives for work, he also owns a ’78 F-250 and a 2005 Redfire Mustang. Like many Mustang owners, Douglas has specific rules when it comes to driving his ride – “If it’s raining it doesn’t get driven – it has to be nice and dry outside.”
Working with Ford
Douglas, 25, works for Trillium Ford Lincoln Ltd. in Shelburne, Ont., as a sales associate. He said he had “no idea” he would be working where he does today. His passion for cars led him to study automotive marketing at Georgian College and he always envisioned working with Ford at Canadian headquarters in Oakville, Ont.
During his last year of school, in 2008, he completed an internship placement working as a product specialist with Ford, travelling on the auto show circuit. At the same time, he was working back home part-time with the parts and service department at Trillium Ford.
While working in service, Douglas realized he possessed a natural ability to connect with customers.
“I remember specifically when the 2008 Fusion came out I spoke to a guy and he came back to the senior sales guy and bought the car after talking to me. I thought – wait a second… I’m missing out on something. That’s when I got into sales and doing what I do here (at Trillium Ford). I stuck with it after I graduated and have been here ever since.”
Douglas makes it very clear that it’s the blue oval or nothing for him. “I couldn’t go sell another brand of vehicle. If I couldn’t sell Fords I don’t know what I’d do. If you have a passion or an interest in something you’ll tend to excel because that’s what you enjoy.”
The Go-To Guy
Douglas knows that when people walk into a dealership, they’ve “done their homework.” When it comes to working in sales, he’s branded himself as the “go-to” guy.
“I’m involved throughout the entire process — whether you’re buying your car or getting your oil changed, I’m very hands on and always interacting. If you get stale and can’t be memorable, people will never come back to you. My branding is ‘I’m the go-to guy.’”
Making a statement
Douglas feels that a vehicle can make a statement about the person you are. “To me a car is not just a car – it defines who you are. It’s like wearing your favourite pair of pants or painting a room a certain colour. For people who say they don’t care about a set of wheels, I feel like they are cutting themselves short.”
What Goes Around Comes Around
Douglas’ hardworking and charismatic personality certainly affects people and he’s seen it first-hand. Three years ago, he helped a man from Caledon who was passing through town and encountered a flat tire. That same man ended up returning to Shelburne to see Douglas about a vehicle.
“I hadn’t seen him in forever but he remembered me, my name and the dealer I worked at. I ended up selling him a Ford Flex.”
Talk about being memorable! We’re sure you won’t forget Douglas after reading his story.
Ford for Life
Douglas looks forward to gradually growing his Ford collection. “Once it’s in ya, it’s in ya. Once I get one, I get attached to them – I don’t like selling them. Anyone who knows me associates me with my Fords – or working for Ford.”