Woodstock Garage celebrates 90 years of business

Rex Morrison, vice president and sales manage, of Woodstock Garage, looks over documents on the computer screen with his brother Hal, company president, at their auto dealership in Woodstock. Woodstock Garage is celebrating its 90th anniversary on July 18. Rich Cooley/Daily

Woodstock Garage Inc., a longtime fixture of automobile sales and repair in the valley, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month.

Buddy Morrison, 85, chairman of the company’s board, said the three major factors that have helped the business thrive over the years are service, longtime staff and customers.

“I think service has been a big factor in our longevity,” Morrison said.

The garage was first opened by his father, Harold Morrison Sr., in 1925 as a small repair shop.

Since that time, it has expanded into a full-fledged dealership. In 2012, the garage expanded its showroom to accommodate the addition of Jeep vehicles to its inventory that also includes Chrysler vehicles.

Jeff Morrison, treasurer and used car manager, chats with his grandfather, Harold "Buddy" Morrison Jr., 86, chairman of the board, inside Woodstock Garage. The family business has been in operation for 90 years. Rich Cooley/Daily

Today, the dealership is owned and operated by three generations of the Morrison family — Buddy Morrison, President Hal Morrison and Vice President Rex Morrison. A fourth generation member, Jeffery Morrison, is treasurer.

Hal Morrison said, “I think part of it is the fact that we’ve always tried to concentrate on the family atmosphere.”

“You try to be honest and fair to everyone. That’s the secret to staying in business,” he said.  “We’re very fortunate … that most everybody that’s [working] here has been here for a long time. We’ve got some employees that have been here for 20 years.”

In its 90 years of existence, the Woodstock Garage has weathered the storm of gasoline shortages in the late 1970s, ownership turnover at Chrysler and the most recent economic downturn of 2008.

Rex Morrison added, “In 2008, we were sitting here waiting for a letter to see … first off, whether there was going to be a corporation, second off, whether we were going to be a Chrysler dealership. It is a lot of trials and tribulations. You gotta take the good and the bad, and you gotta be prepared for both of them.”

Woodstock Mayor Jeremy D. McCleary, right, presents a proclamation to the Morrison family, owners of Woodstock Garage, recognizing their 90 years of operation in Woodstock. At left is Hal Morrison, president, Harold "Buddy" Morrison Jr, chairman of the board, Rex Morrison, vice president and sales manager, and Jeff Morrison, used car manager and treasurer. Rich Cooley/Daily

Hal Morrison said, “A business is a living thing. It’s just like our lives … the sum of all the people that come here.”

The Morrisons also said evolving and adapting to technological changes in cars as well as communication has been important.

“You have to stay current,” Hal Morrison said. “You’re looking for better fuel efficiency, better emissions and air quality … you want to be associated with a company that’s staying on top of that.”

As an example of this, he pointed to their relationship with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

“Fiat has benefited Woodstock Garage because of the knowledge and products that they’ve brought into us,” he said.

Hal Morrison pointed out that the company is also looking at how it can stay current with social media.

“Because of our history, the future to us is that we stay healthy and our Woodstock Garage Inc. is owned and operated by the Morrison family in some fashion,” he said.

Looking ahead, Rex Morrison said, “Ninety years is a great accomplishment, and for us, it’s very important, but we also have to change and try different things and make sure we’re staying current.”

At A Glance

To celebrate their 90th anniversary, the Woodstock Garage will host a customer appreciation celebration on July 18.

Jeff Morrison said admission is free and that there will be live music as well as barbecue served by Kickin’ Ash BBQ.

More information on the celebration can be found at: http://bit.ly/1eklYc4

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com