Columbia Gorge Toyota Steps Up to Save City Cleanup Project
That’s when she and General Manager Aaron Carter stepped up. Last fall, Columbia Gorge Toyota began cohosting the cleanup events, which take place on the second Saturday of each month (with a three-month hiatus in the winter), in partnership with the Dalles Beautification Committee.
They also invite other organizations to co-host with them — for instance, a private school, the city council, a real estate company, the Lions Club — and that’s helped boost attendance. Rachel Carter estimates that about 40 people helped during the most recent cleanup event.
The dealership provides safety equipment and uses its trucks to haul away trash. The Transfer Station takes the first two loads of trash for free but the dealership pays any additional fees. Aaron Carter says the benefits of these community events far outweigh the small monetary cost. For him, it’s a family effort. His kids and the dealership dog — a yellow lab named Lady, aka their “public relations pooch” — pitch in, too.
These events have also helped build rapport with the broader community.
“We have our trucks with our logos on it along the road, and so even for people who aren't there, they see us out there, hauling loads of trash into the truck,” says Rachel Carter. “They'll honk their horn and wave. It’s been a great way to show people what we hope to accomplish in the community.”
That visibility is already paying off. Last year was their first full year in business after acquiring the dealership about two years ago, and the Chamber of Commerce named them the 2020 Business of the Year. Aaron Carter partly attributes their award to the community cleanup efforts.
“We are really a community-focused business, and it is a way to let people know that,” he says.
Aaron Carter (Columbia Gorge Toyota) and daughter Molly Carter pick up trash during a community clean-up event.