Cars are in their blood
Brothers Randy and Terry Hagen will receive a plaque from Ford on Thursday commemorating 50 years of service and sales at their dealership location in Hillsboro.
Although they haven’t been selling cars for that long, they grew up immersed in automobiles. It’s in their blood.
Randy and Terry spent much of their childhood playing with the small plastic models of the vehicles their father Allen sold to customers at Hillsboro Ford, Inc.
“As a kid, I always wanted to spend time with Dad at the dealership,” Randy said. “It just became a part of life. I remembered people for the cars they drove.”
Terry said he remembers show days when the car and truck models would arrive.
“There was big excitement,” Terry said. “They used to cover up them up and hide them but that doesn’t happen anymore.”
The Hagen brothers said the dealership was a Ford dealership prior to 50 years ago.
Randy said their father started at Hillsboro Ford in 1958 under the wing of Albert Reimer, the original owner.
Allen became the principle owner in the mid-’70s. Randy started just under a decade later, in 1984 at the age of 30, and Terry joined in 1986 when he was 28. They worked together until their father passed in 1994.
Currently, Randy is the general manager and Terry is the sales manager. In their time at the dealership, they have seen many changes in the automotive industry.
The Hagen brothers said the Internet dramatically changed the dynamics of how they do business.
“Customers use the Internet to find all sorts of information; some good, some bad, some misinformation,” Terry said. “We are a tremendously mobile society and you have to adapt with the times but customer service still needs to be the good old way.”
The Hagen brothers help customers discern fact from fiction pertaining to particular vehicles, work to uphold a positive reputation, and foster a sense of trust by making sure customer needs are met.
“A good reputation takes a lot of work to build and little to lose,” Randy said. “It’s an ongoing process.”
Randy said their service department and body shop garner loyal customers.
Their customer base spreads 60 to 70 miles and includes Wichita, Chase County, and Abilene customers.
“It’s not a million,” Randy said. “But it’s a pretty wide base.”
Part of their longevity and success might be attributed to connections they have to the community.
Randy said giving back to the community is somewhat instinctual.
Last year they purchased game chairs and safety mats for the Tabor basketball program and were a silver sponsor for Relay for Life.
They sponsored an FFA $1,000 scholarship for about seven years, and sponsored the “Drive 4 UR School” event since 2007 in which they have raised about $19,000 for Hillsboro High School Booster Club.