History is replete with controversies between siblings, but that isn't the case at Murdock Chevrolet in North Salt Lake, Utah. And that could be the main reason the dealership is successful in a very competitive market.
K.O. and Blake Murdock both hold the title of general manager. Each has as much authority as their father, Kent Murdock, but it probably is their democratic way of dealing with issues that separates them from other dealerships operating under several decision makers.
For example, late last year, the brothers wanted to refurbish the showroom, purchase furniture and install piped music, but their father was against the idea. They had an understanding that the majority would rule, so K.O. and Blake Murdock voted for the changes and the money was spent, although they abandoned the piped music idea.
K.O. Murdock says the voting takes place when money is to be spent, but discussions are held and voting isn't required on subjects such as service policy changes or car and truck appraisal methods.
To hear the brothers tell it, they treat their dealership as one big happy family and want the public to be part of the family. K.O. Murdock says the Murdock name has been in the area for many years, and that has helped the dealership retain many of its customers.
'If we are at a ball game, our customers know they can deal with our employees, because many of them have been here a long time,' K.O. Murdock says. 'Some dealerships have a heavy turnover rate, but we are proud that at Murdock Chevrolet, our customers know who they are dealing with from year to year.'
Blake says the public sees the dealership as a family business, and some of their advertising reflects that. In some recent TV advertising, Kent Murdock encouraged his sons to go to work, as most fathers would do, but they wanted to go skiing and golfing. That type of advertising, K.O. Murdock says, helps promote the family image since 'we never do price advertising.'
Why do the brothers get along so well? They both agree communication is important. Besides, if you can't trust your father and brother, whom can you trust?
Their grandfather, Jack Olsen, started a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership in the 1940s in Morgan, Utah, about 50 miles northeast of North Salt Lake. He and Kent Murdock later obtained a Chevrolet dealership in nearby Layton, Utah, where the brothers worked as lot boys.
At one time K.O. Murdock thought he wanted to be an accountant, but that idea faded after he took a few classes. He unloaded freight cars for a while, but he wanted to dress up when he worked, so he joined the Layton dealership as financial manager in 1973.
Blake Murdock played football for Brigham Young University and was a graduate assistant there for a year. But he was bored, so he became a salesman at the dealership's present site, which was purchased by the Murdocks in 1982 after another dealer went broke.
K.O. and Blake Murdock bought into the business and built the present building in 1985. The dealership is on six acres, and they are leasing another 11/2 acres. They started with 56 employees and now have 118.
Apparently the secret to success at Murdock Chevrolet is being at work every day and being available to handle the problems that arise.
At the age of 73, Kent Murdock is at the dealership each day and is considered the company owner. K.O. Murdock oversees new-car sales, and Blake Murdock handles used vehicles. They take turns overseeing the body shop and service area.
Although they work many hours, the brothers never hesitate to take time off to watch their sons and daughters play soccer, basketball or football. K.O. Murdock has four children, and his brother has 10.
They also are active in church work.
The dealership gives the brothers an opportunity to provide employment for other family members. Some of K.O. Murdock's and Blake Murdock's children help out, and a cousin, Cort Murdock, is the dealership's business manager.