For any business to reach the 50 year milestone, it has to offer more than a good product and customer service. To earn that longevity, a company has to truly become part of the community and that is certainly the case for Sanborn Chevrolet in Lodi.
The commitment to community has been a guiding principle for Sanborn Chevrolet founder Richard Sanborn. He is a lifelong member of the Kiwanis Club of Lodi and helped spearhead the Cherokee Lane Beautification Project. His daughter Kini Sanborn has stepped in to lead the dealership and is continuing the community connections. The dealership recently made a $10,000 donation to Lodi Memorial for the hospital’s new imaging center and is sponsoring the Kingdon Drag races, the farmers’ market and has been a previous sponsor of the Christmas light parade.
“We’ve taken a lot of pride in serving the community with integrity and honesty over the years and that is the same vision we have going forward,” said Kini Sanborn. “We’re going to continue to invest in the dealership and those relationships in the community.”
Richard Sanborn, 87, still comes in regularly to help at the dealership, but his start in the automotive industry did not foretell a rise to the position he has held.
“He started by pushing a broom in the parts department – listening and learning,” Kini Sanborn said.
He worked as the parts manager for a Tracy dealership and later the general sales manager at a Manteca dealership. His path eventually led him to the GM dealership at 9 W. Locust St. in Lodi, where it became apparent his next step was to run his own dealership.
“The owners at the time didn’t want to expand or open a new dealership, so my dad worked with the GM representatives and told them he would build a new dealership in a bigger location,” Kini Sanborn said.
He broke ground at the 1210 Cherokee Lane facility in July 1971 and moved there in 1973. Expansions over the years have included service, quick lube, body and detailing shops and more room for new and pre-owned inventory. Future plans include a revamp of the showroom and expanding the lot size.
When Richard Sanborn decided it was time to ease back from his day-to-day responsibilities, he knew his daughter, Kini Sanborn, was the right choice to step in.
Kini Sanborn had a thriving career in marketing, with a focus on the luxury hospitality industry. She knew stepping into the new role as president of the dealership would be challenging, but she was ready to take it on.
“I attended dealership school back in Virginia, with the National Automobile Dealers Association and graduated from there after an intensive and year-long program,” Kini Sanborn said. “That training and the relationships I made with other dealership presidents has been so valuable.”
She also said she is very grateful for her father’s ongoing presence at the dealership.
“He still gives a lot of guidance around the dealership and it’s great to have him serving as my mentor,” Kini Sanborn said. “It’s been a real honor to carry on his legacy.”
Sanborn Chevrolet will recognize that legacy, as well as some long-term employees with a private event in July. For the public, the dealership has several specials planned for the month. On July 19, the first 12 guests to the service department will get a $25 Amazon gift card. All month long the dealership will be offering $50 discounts on GM accessory running boards, tonneau covers and gun safes.
For more information visit sanbornchevrolet.com.