DETROIT -- When his CFO, and boyhood friend, was diagnosed with lymphoma, Mark O'Brien mobilized his dealership for a bone marrow drive. He even shaved his head in solidarity.
That's what family does, and that's what Roy O'Brien Ford is about.
"Dad always said treat your customers better than you expect to be treated," said Mark O'Brien, chairman of the dealership his grandfather Roy opened 65 years ago.
Roy O'Brien began selling Fords in metro Detroit in 1946, buying an old firehouse and reopening it as a used-car dealership and service center. Eventually he passed along the business to his son, Roy Jr., who controlled the company until his death last May.
Now Roy, Jr.'s son, Mark, is at the helm of the dealership in St. Clair Shores, Mich.
It took Mark O'Brien 35 years to get into the family dealership. He worked at his maternal grandfather's grocery store for 11 years during his teens and after graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in business. It was a small store where workers knew the customers by name.