Wesley Chapel Toyota
“It’s an immense source of pride when you’re with a customer and they see a picture of you on the roof of a house, nailing down shingles,” says Managing Partner Patrick Abad. “We don’t do it to take any kind of credit. We do it because it shows who we are at our core.”
In this instance, the photos tell the story of a dealership that actively supports Habitat for Humanity of East and Central Pasco County with its dollars as well as its time. Five years ago, Wesley Chapel Toyota helped finance and construct its first Habitat for Humanity house. Since then, nearly half of the store’s 186 associates have pitched in on two homes per year for families who wouldn’t otherwise have an affordable place of their own to live. When the charity dedicated its most recent project in May, some 40 Wesley Chapel Toyota associates made time in their busy day to witness John and David Williams, the dealership’s owners, hand over the keys to Priscilla Pate, the new homeowner.
Priscilla Pate receives a Wesley Chapel Toyota welcome to her new home by (left to right): Eric Johnson, director of community partnerships; John Williams, chairman of Williams Automotive Group; Patrick Abad, Managing Partner; and David Williams, vice president of Williams Automotive Group.
The dealership’s generosity isn’t limited to Habitat for Humanity, however. Community Partnerships Director Eric Johnson says the store offered its staff 33 hands-on service opportunities in the past year.
“Active community involvement is our No. 1 core value,” he says. “The culture here, from the Williams brothers down, encourages everyone to serve. We make it fun. We wear matching T-shirts. Volunteering gets us out of the dealership and gives us a chance to see each other in a different light. That, in turn, creates better relationships, which makes a difference when we work together at the dealership.”
The hands-on philanthropic ethos is not only admirable, it’s also apparently contagious. Abad says many of the dealership’s vendors, media partners and customers also often join the associates in lending a helping hand.
“When we say we’re going to build a house, people line up at the door. We never have to ask twice,” he says. “That all starts when we’re hiring. We look for quality people, not just good car people. That’s just the way we do it here.”