Meade Lexus of Lakeside has been part of the Utica community for nearly 25 years, and now the dealership is being recognized for its contributions at a county level.
Meade Lexus is the only auto dealership nominated for the new Macomb Business Awards in the Corporate Citizen category. This includes businesses that have meaningful involvement in community projects through service and support, according to Macomb County's website.
Award winners will be announced at a breakfast on Feb. 12
Kenneth Meade, owner of Meade Lexus, 45001 Northpointe Boulevard, said he is most passionate about the Meade Pediatric Hematology Oncology Center at St. John Hospital and Medical Center.
"He has been contributing donations there for several years," Kristina Reid, Meade Lexus marketing associate, said.
She said some of the funds raised were used to have an artist paint the halls and to bring children gifts.
The dealership also collects donations in its showroom for groups like the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, Gleaner's and Bottomless Toy Chest. People who bring in donations get a discount on their service bill, Reid said.
"We try to get our employees interested in giving back also," she said.
Every month, the dealership finds volunteer opportunities like with Mitch Albom's A Time to Help and the Salvation Army, an activity that helps improve workplace morale, Reid said.
"You know someone in a different way when you work with them on a project," said Mary Williams, marketing manager at Meade Lexus.
Reid agreed and said it's good for team building. Meade Lexus has 140 employees total and about 60 at its Southfield.
Voted Best Place to Work
The dealership, which opened in 1989, was named one of the 2012 Top 100 Dealerships to work for by Automotive News.
Williams, who has been with the dealership for 12 years, and Reid, who has been there for almost three years, worked to get it Certified Female Friendly status.
The AskPatty.com certification program required all employees to complete an online training and pass a certification test. The certification guarantees a dealership creates a comfortable environment where women feel welcome and have a pleasant experience, according to AskPatty.com.
"This is the only Lexus dealership in Michigan to do this," Reid said, which includes the sister dealership in Southfield.
Meade Lexus is also an Elite Lexus dealership, meaning it is a recipient of the Elite of Lexus award. This is reserved for those dealers that achieve certain standards in service, building maintenance and more, Williams said.
Meade Lexus has loyal patrons — 75 to 80 percent of patrons are returning customers, said Williams. Owner Kenneth Meade spends extensive time making sure its customers feel appreciated.
The waiting area has business desks and free WiFi, so customers can optimize their time. Reid said customers can also check out iPads, cell phone chargers and DVD players, which are popular with the children.
"The first Saturday of every month, we do a customer appreciation breakfast," she said.
The dealership also does what's called an "Owner's Welcome" every Wednesday, which kicked off last year. It's a chance for customers to get to know the dealership and learn more about their vehicles, Williams said. Wild Flour a Confectionery in Southfield provides their weekly special for dessert, she said.
Reid said it's important to the dealership to not only look for new customers but to appreciate the ones they have. The dealership stays in touch with customers through a monthly newsletter and on Facebook, Twitter and its new Pinterest page.