Click on the "About Us" icon on Patriot Subaru's home page and you'll see a roster and photos of the dealership's 57 employees. But three, who work in customer relations, don't look or act like everyone else.
They tend to sit around a lot. They can often be found snoozing on their sides under a desk. And they answer to just one name.
The Saco, Maine, dealership is one of a handful of dog-friendly stores around the country. The job titles on the store's Web site for Colby, Subie and Licorice aren't posted just to be cute. Colby and Subie, golden retrievers, and Licorice, a black Labrador retriever, really do have jobs.
"Buying a car takes longer than it should," says owner Adam Arens. "Dogs help people relax. They tend to sit next to people who are tense. They kind of think that's their job," he said of the dogs, who are at the store most days.
The way Arens sees it, having dogs on the sales floor is not just a business strategy designed to give his store a leg up on the competition. The policy is consistent with Subaru's pet-friendly brand image, and it meshes with what he sees as Maine's affection for dogs. Many of his customers, he says, travel frequently with their dogs and take them to their jobs.
And, he says, being pet-friendly helps the store give back to the community. Patriot holds pet adoptions and sponsors fundraisers for pet charities, including the Animal Refuge League and Animal Welfare Society.
Several other dealer groups around the country are also pet-friendly, even if dogs are not yet welcome at work. The Yark Automotive Group in Toledo, Ohio, which had five dealerships on this year's list of the Best Dealerships To Work For, collects food and toys for pets, which it donates to its local partner, Planned Pethood. The company also supports 4 Paws Sake, a dog rescue organization.