The employees at Kemna Auto Center in Algona, Iowa, knew the dealership's interior needed better lighting, especially in the service department.
Last year, its newly formed employee board of directors researched the cost of new lights, including applicable rebates, and presented its proposal to owner Ken Kemna. Without hesitation, Kemna gave the project his blessing and the "$25,000, $30,000" it took to install the more energy-efficient, LED lighting throughout the dealership.
It took less than 60 days for the proposal to go from bright idea to brightly lit dealership.
"They talked about it, they got the pricing, they got them installed. It happened almost overnight," said Kemna, a dealer for 35 years who sells Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles.
"We lit the body shop first and it was like night and day. We were so happy. It's just beautiful."
A panel at last year's Best Dealerships To Work For event stressed the importance of management's being willing to listen to employees — and to act on what they say. Kemna Auto Center, formerly known as Kemna GM Center, has made Automotive News' list of the Best Dealerships To Work For in four of the last five years. It stands out for its commitment to listening, and acting, by having a formal board of employees that meets regularly to brainstorm ideas that make the dealership a better place for customers and employees.