Today is a day for the O’Brien family, their employees, and their loyal customers to celebrate! It all started on January 12, 1933…a cold winter day in the midst of the Great Depression! What was Thomas J O’Brien thinking? You can check out our complete history by reading the “Dealership History” page; but as a 2-year employee, I have a different story to tell.
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to meet our founder, Thomas J O’Brien. What I do know is that when he opened the original dealership, he was young, married, and had only been in the automotive business for a couple of years selling cars. To decide to open a dealership in the midst of a depression; he had to have a good work ethic, a strong desire to succeed, but also a vision to start a business that stood for more than a job. His hard work and core values about building a different kind of place to patronize and to work has paid off.
The “O’Brien” that I hear the most about is his son, J. Thomas O’Brien. In 1962 Tom built on his father’s vision and opened the family’s 2nd store. Slowly, over the course of the next 41 years, Tom grew the dealer group into that we know today.
From my perspective, I believe his strongest core value in building the business into what it stands for today is all about family. I know this from the stories that his children and grandchildren share with the employees. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying; when I say family, I mean his extended family (his employees) and how he valued each and every person that worked for him, no matter what position they held. I posted a blog back in December shortly after one of the employee celebrations held at the dealership. Those Christmas celebrations helped me understand why this dealer group is different than most; THE reason why they have been such a success in our market. One of the things that make us different is the O’Brien “Employee First” Philosophy; this philosophy has been documented in a couple of posts that I wrote (one which celebrated 2 employee’s 40-years of tenure at the Greenwood store / the other celebrating employees with 25+ years of tenure at the Indianapolis location). This “Employee First” philosophy may seem strange in today’s “Customer First” business world, but it is actually the foundation for how we treat our customers. The O’Brien family feels that the only way to ensure that their customers are taken care of properly is to do everything they can to make sure that their employees enjoy working for them and feel like they are an integral part of their success. From an employee’s perspective, there is no unimportant position at the O’Brien Automotive Family group of dealerships – from the lot attendant, to the office clerk, the parts runner, to the service porter – we, as a group, understand that we can’t function without everyone on our team being happy and productive.
So…today is a day for all of us to celebrate! For 80-years the O’Brien family has continued the vision of Thomas J O’Brien; “Let’s build the business by building a family of valued employees. Let’s build a business where every customer; new or repeat, is a valued one.” 4-Generations and counting, the O’Brien family continues to strive to earn your patronage for generations to come ….”We work for you! Since 1933.”