A firm commitment to the customer and the dedication to service that comes with it, keeps Gerry Lane Enterprises at the top of the car dealership business in Baton Rouge. Despite entering this market 20 years ago in the face of poor economic conditions, Lane's business thrived, success Lane attributes to "treating the customer the way I'd like to be treated."
The service-first attitude, an improved product line and an innovative sales and marketing approach contribute to Gerry Lane's consistent success, even on the inevitable downside of the business cycle. "You have to do whatever it takes to be successful when times are tough. Then, when times turn around, you are in a position to reap the harvest," Lane says.
Part of Lane's "whatever it takes" creed includes spending considerable money on improving their facilities and their image, including the $1.5 million-plus the dealership will spend in advertising and marketing. Much of that money will be spent in the community with over 400 charities reaping the benefits of the Lane family generosity. Ads, promotion, public relations, and media placement are handled by Lane's daughter, Saundra. Saundra's input has not only helped Gerry Lane Enterprises stay near the top of the state's auto dealers in sales but also has helped build name recognition that is higher than some of the oldest businesses in Baton Rouge. "When people think of buying a car, we want them to think of us first," she says.
Lane's son Eric, a former catcher for the San Francisco Giants, is the Vice-President of Gerry Lane Enterprises. He wears many hats for the family business and the entire family thrives on the healthy competition between the Chevrolet, Buick-GMC, Cadillac, Saab and Mitsubishi stores. Eric's customers range from his Tulane baseball fans and friends to San Francisco Giants coaches and players. Eric is active in a number of organizations and holds daily meetings at each of the dealerships to keep things in check.
Gerry's wife, Faye Rogan Lane, the first and former Louisiana Oil Queen and family cheerleader, encourages her busy family to continue their strong work ethics and remember to keep their faith first. She has ridden through the rough times and is now enjoying the successes of her family's hard work for over 50 years.
The Lane family's "what goes around, comes around" philosophy of life has been a proven formula by which to run a successful business. "It's our way of life and that's how we do business," Lane says.