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Bayou Ford of LaPlace puts down roots with new management

LAPLACE — An easily accessible management staff, upbeat employees and community roots are essential to providing top notch customer service, according to Ben Gaiennie, co-owner of the new Bayou Ford Dealership in LaPlace.

Located at 555 Belle Terre Blvd. in LaPlace, Bayou Ford was previously operated by Supreme Automotive Group under the name Supreme Ford.

New Ford trucks, a variety of pre-owned vehicles starting at $5,000, service and parts for any make and model remain available to the community, and Gaiennie said most Supreme employees have been rehired by Bayou Ford.

The dealership has maintained a presence in LaPlace for approximately 20 years but has changed management frequently due to larger stores around Southeast Louisiana requiring more time and attention, according to Gaiennie.

Bayou Ford is located at 555 Belle Terre Blvd., the previous site of Supreme Ford.

He and co-owner Brian Stewart plan to change that trend.

“Supreme is a very successful group, but the owners didn’t spend a lot of time here because they have seven stores to run,” Gaiennie said.

“It’s nice for local people to be able to stop in and talk to both me and Brian daily and communicate with decision makers. We’ve already gotten good feedback on that.”

Stewart said he and Gaiennie have been in the dealership business for almost 20 years, and owning a store has been an enduring dream.

Working his way up through the business was an incomparable experience, and giving that opportunity to his employees is what Stewart enjoys most about his job.

“We like to take someone who has been struggling to find their way and give them a career,” Stewart said.

“We can make them a sales consultant and build them up through the business so they can make more money to support kids, mortgages and car notes.”

At right, Ben Gaiennie stands with inventory manager Vernon Bailey Sr. Wednesday morning as he works on his computer. Gaiennie said most Bayou Supreme employees were rehired, adding it’s important to support employees so they can extend positive customer service.

The best candidates for management often come from within, Stewart said, noting Bayou Ford’s general sales managers started out selling cars in lower tier positions.

Gaiennie said a focus on building qualified workers translates to seamless vehicle sales and customer service.

“It’s about developing employees,” Gaiennie said. “Providing a good customer experience is almost impossible without happy employees.”

Transparency is a value shared by all staff members, according to Gaiennie.

Today’s customers are well informed and have access to a vast supply of online information, and withholding facts would be counterproductive to business.

Building a reputation founded on trust is the first step to establishing roots in the community, Gaiennie said.

Believing the public will support a business that invests back into them, Gaiennie plans to join the River Region Chamber of Commerce, participate in fundraising and networking events, build relationships with St. John Parish government and sponsor schools and sports programs.

Sales manager Sammy Phillips and co-owner Ben Gaiennie survey cars Wednesday morning.

New to Bayou Ford, a courtesy transportation system will be available to assist customers with cars being serviced so they may travel to work within a 15- to 20-mile radius.

Stewart said LaPlace is a great location for a dealership because it’s a close-knit community that holds the largest population between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

“We’re here to get involved,” Stewart said.

“It’s more gratifying when you work in a community like this, where people seem to care.”

Bayou Ford sales representatives are available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The service office opens from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Call 888-895-2765 for sales, 888-881-5132 for service or 888-457-1855 for parts.

Job applications are open for accounts payable and office manager/controller positions through Monday.

For more information, visit bayouford.net or email owners@bayouford.net.