Lou Bachrodt, Auto Mall Rockford, IL
Pictured Above From left to right: General Sales Manager Patrick Bachrodt, General Manager Charlie Hansmeyer and Dealer Rachel Bachrodt
Like many dealerships across Illinois, Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall in Rockford is experiencing an unusual time in the auto business. Pandemic-related staffing shortages and inventory gaps have presented challenges for everyone. But this 70-year-old, third-generation company — which includes Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, VW, and BMW dealerships — has pivoted its efforts toward two things it can control: supporting the greater community and retaining employees.
Established in 1953 by Lou Bachrodt, the dealership is now run by his grandchildren, including Dealer Principal Rachel and General Sales Manager Patrick. They are following in their parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps by engaging employees and customers in a wide variety of philanthropic activities.
“Lou Bachrodt has a 70-year tradition of giving back to the community that has given so much to us,” explains Rachel Bachrodt. “I am very proud to carry on that tradition. Social media really has given us a new platform not only to promote and assist those organizations that we support, but it also gives us an avenue to reach out to community members in new and creative ways. Additionally, it is fun and exciting for our employees to see the events and sponsorships on social media and allows the team to be even more engaged. We look forward to finding new ways to continue this tradition and grow our community reach even further.”
According to Bachrodt marketing manager Tracy Beyer, the family-owned and operated dealership is doubling-down on showing care and concern for its neighbors in need. “The Bachrodt family just understands the importance of giving back,” Tracy explains. “And they have watched Rockford struggle, thrive and grow over the last 70 years.”
A key focus of support for the dealership is children in need. This year will mark the 25th anniversary of Lou Bachrodt’s “12 Hours of Salvation” Toy Drive in conjunction with the Salvation Army. Prior to Christmas, the dealership collects donations, purchases toys, and accepts new, unwrapped toys from customers and staff. This year they’re on track to hit a combined $120,000 and 200,000 toys.
Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall supports children in other ways. To further support area children, each year they support the work of the Boys and Girls Club and Gigi’s Playhouse, a national organization with a Rockford presence that works closely with special needs children.
The list of other community events and donations is extensive, including an annual blood drive and working with local Boylan High School with whatever initiatives it needs help with.
In addition to community members, Lou Bachrodt prioritizes and supports its employees. A member of the Bachrodt family is at one of the dealerships every day and is frequently seen asking sales, support, and service staff how they can help. They can be found on the lot, service area, or in the office, making connections with employees.
“They make working here fun,” says Beyer. “We celebrate employee anniversaries, birthdays, and accomplishments. The Bachrodts really make us feel like family and create an environment that we want to be a part of.”
This attitude rubs off on customers who are met with a “we’re here to help you” attitude. With inventory so low, Bachrodt staff is trained to listen carefully to what a customer wants in a vehicle and then works to help them find it, whether it’s on the lot or not.
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