On A Dream & A Prayer

On A Dream & A Prayer

More Than Denton County’s Ford Dealer… It’s A Family

by Steve Gamel

 

Do us a quick favor. The next time you call Bill Utter Ford and are put on a brief hold, pay attention to the voice on the other end of the line. That’s more than a standard automated greeting letting you know someone will be right with you – it’s the sweet and innocent voice of Bailee Utter, the granddaughter of the self-made man the dealership is named after.

“Hi, I’m Bailee Utter. Thank you for calling; we’ll be right back with you. …” the message opens.

While you likely won’t get to hear the rest of young Bailee’s greeting – most people aren’t left on hold long enough – it gets the point across that you are about to work with a family. In a world where quality car dealerships are practically on every street corner, it’s not easy to find one that is still family-owned and operated like Bill Utter Ford. Not only is hearing Bailee’s voice a unique experience, but owners Bill Utter Jr. and wife, Monica, are there almost every day to interact with their customers. The late Bill Utter Sr. and wife, Virginia, bought the franchise 62 years ago on a dream and a prayer, and since then, Bill Utter Ford has been treating customers and employees like family better than anyone else. That’s the way it was then, and it’s still that way today.

“It’s pretty amazing how people still talk about my dad,” Bill Jr. said. “He bought this franchise and went right to work. He never wanted to retire; he loved this so much and really cared about people. That’s just the way it’s always been.” Monica added, “People used to ask him, ‘So you’re in the car business?’ He would say, ‘No, I’m in the people business.’”

When Lake Cities Living sat down with the Utters, they didn’t talk much about their unrivaled inventory of cars and trucks. The dealership prides itself on being Deal Country USA, where customers can expect the best deals, service, and inventory in Texas. From finding you the most affordable vehicles, parts, and accessories to securing the lowest financing rates, Bill Utter Ford won’t let you down. Instead, they talked lovingly of the man who started it all and how they try to carry on that legacy.

Bill Sr. grew up during the great depression and is a great example of a self-made man. He and Virginia moved to North Texas in 1956 when Denton had a population of roughly 20,000. They had three young children (Bill Jr., Bob, and Barbara) and didn’t know a soul, so one can imagine their journey was tough sledding from the very beginning.

So Bill did what he knew best: he hung his hat on customer service and a family-first mindset. Bill Jr. was only 14 when he started working for his father. With his new driver’s license in hand, Bill Jr. began delivering parts for the family dealership and went on to hold nearly every position there is to hold, from working in service and parts to used cars, used car management, new car, and new car management. He eventually became the general manager, and then the owner when his father passed away in 2001.

“When we got here, I was four years old,” Bill Jr. said. “Dad immediately joined all types of groups and got to know as many people as he could. That gave us our start. He trained me and worked me in every department except paint and body. Many of the customers we have today have been with us since my dad sold them their first car.”

Bill Jr. credited Monica for much of the dealership’s success in recent years. She joined the dealership in 1995 and has held multiple positions, as well. She is onsite every day. Together, they have two children, Bailee and Trey. Incidentally, Trey is short for Bill Utter III.

“To be family-owned is uncommon,” Monica said. “I still interact with the customers in person and on social media, and that means a lot to people. It’s not just a name on a building. This is a family, and we try to make the experience special for our customers.” Monica added, “You could tell Bill Sr. was proud that his name would live on. There’s a lot of history here, and it starts with family. We’ve never forgotten that.”

4901 South I-35 E | Denton, TX 76205 |www.billutterford.com
Sales:
940.321.7400 | Service: 940.321.7510 | Parts: 940.321.7500


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