Farson, Wyoming has a population of 836. It’s so small that it’s population includes the nearby borough of Eden, which shares its zip code (I’m sure the folks in Eden will argue who shares what). There are certainly more antelope than people. Cellular service is practically non-existent, so Google Maps doesn’t have much use. Like the speed of the surrounding area, an old fashioned map might help you find it.
During the return leg of a trip out west to consult with a large dealer group in Wyoming, Joe and I stumbled upon Farson. We had just driven down a stretch of road so deserted that I could count the cars that we passed over 90 minutes on my fingers. We decided to get gas because we didn’t know the next time we’d see a station (alien abductions were a potential threat). Shortly thereafter, we came across a hamburger joint along US 191. We’re glad we stopped.
Big D’s Country Burger is just the type of joint that Joe and I swing through on our adventures. The seating area was about the size of the typical dealer principal’s office. The décor was sparse, probably furnished in the era of a typical dealer principal’s office. We were greeted by a mountain of a human being, decked-out in a chef’s uniform, who acted as maître d’, chef, and server. We had no clue what we were in for.
Dustin is the “D” in Big D’s. With a huge grin, and a slow drawl, Dustin proceeded to give us a fantastic refresher in branding. Over the course of about 45 minutes, our conversation ranged from Urban Spoon, Guy Fieri’s exploits, the awards he’s accumulated, his upbringing in the restaurant world, competitive eating challenges, and the VIPs that have landed their helicopters behind his diner to pick up lunch. With a kind voice, and a little western swagger, he was able to do what most millionaire metro dealers can’t do: Tell the story.
Most dealers (the people who sign the checks) have similar stories. I’m sure we all know a good portion of dealers who are just part of the family business. But, it wasn’t always that way. Someone had to have started the company, and they had a story. One dealer immediately comes to mind. He started washing cars at a dealership when he was in high school for extra money. He continued on to be a salesman, and worked his way through the all of the management ranks. As a GM he was asked to partner on a dealership, and now he owns several more. If he told the story, it would be far richer and vibrant than what I just summed up. It should be on his website, but it’s not.
I’ve discussed big brands in previous blog posts (here and here), and many of the stories are easy to remember. Almost everyone knows the story of Steve and Steve building the personal computer in a garage. That story is almost as ubiquitous as Phil and Bill making running shoes with a waffle iron. These are more than stories. They’re legends that echo through the hallway at Apple and Nike. Everyone knows a version of Henry Ford’s story, or Thomas Edison’s story, or John Rockefeller’s story. Ferruccio Lamborghini’s story is one of my favorites. These are the stories that define companies, generation after generation.
Do you know your dealership’s story? If you do, high-five! If you don’t, ask around. If no one knows, then it’s time to create one. If Big Dustin can tell his story in a matter of minutes, so should you. If you need more help, click this link. If your dealership has a story, share it. We want to tell it, too.