When you’re at North Island Nissan, you’re family. While that may sound like a refrain made famous by the Olive Garden, it also applies to the Nissan dealership in north Campbell River.
“We want it to feel like home for our customers,” says General Manager Mike Ball. “It’s just a friendly environment where everybody knows everybody and everybody is accessible.”
While that may sound similar to the tag line from Cheers, it’s a principle that Ball strives to meet head on.
“I advertise my cell phone so if there’s an issue I’m not a hard guy to get a hold of,” he says. “If there’s an issue, I want to know about it so I can fix it.”
That can-do attitude has gotten Ball far.
He started out as a salesman with Steve Marshall Ford in 2004 and has been with the Steve Marshall Auto Group ever since.
After Ford, Ball went on to work at Honda for seven years.
When the opportunity came up to buy the local Nissan dealership, Ball, Steve Marshall and Karl Edrup – who has been with the Steve Marshall group for nearly 20 years –“jumped on it.”
Ball was appointed general manager in April, 2014 and works out of the Nissan dealership as the day-to-day manager in charge of advertising, staffing, and inventory.
He oversees a staff of 15 employees who, like himself, were mostly all born and raised in Campbell River or the surrounding area.
Which is why the community means so much to him, and why Ball is a strong advocate for shopping local.
“Our main focus is local,” Ball says. “When we’re talking to customers about buying a car there’s no reason at all that they shouldn’t be buying local because we’ll match prices. On servicing, on cars – anything.
“It’s about keeping the money in town and making people happy,” he adds. “It’s fun when people spend their hard-earned money on a shiny new car and they’re excited about it.”
And at North Island Nissan, both new and pre-owned vehicles are available for purchase.
“Right now Nissan has a really exciting product line,” Ball says. “In three years, Nissan has nearly doubled its sales, that’s super exciting.”
According to Nissan Canada, in 2015 the auto group sold more than 100,000 vehicles while just three years prior, Nissan’s Canadian sales totalled roughly 80,000 units per year.
North Island Nissan also offers a service department and free car washes anytime for its customers.
The dealership also provides extended test drives.
“We invite customers to take extended overnight test drives because sometimes you can’t decide whether to buy a vehicle after just a 10-minute test drive,” Ball says.
And on top of that, Ball says North Island Nissan is the number one import volume store on the North Island.
Ball says it’s thanks to his team that the dealership has become so successful.
“We treat all the employees like we want to be treated and they all seem to stick around,” he says. “We’ve got a really good team right now.”
One that ranges in age from 20-years-old to a semi-retired lot crew staffer.
And Ball’s enjoying every bit of it.
It’s certainly better than his first career choice which he abandoned to go into the auto industry.
“I was going to school to become an accountant and I started working in an accountant’s office and it was boring,” Ball says. “I was always a fan of vehicles and when Ford was hiring my grandpa told me I should apply to be a sales guy. And I never looked back.”
But Ball hasn’t fully abandoned his roots.
He says he’s glad for his background in accounting because it has proved valuable when dealing with payroll and other financial matters in his role as general manager.
But he doesn’t regret the change in his career path.
“I’m so glad I did that,” he says.
For more about North Island Nissan or to get in touch with Ball, give him a call at 250-203-4437 or visit the website, www.northislandnissan.ca