OPELOUSAS, La. — ‘85’ is a big number. 85 years for Roy Motors here in Opelousas. Why is the company still around? and who remembers what they've done right?
I asked Mr. Martin A. Roy, Chairman of Roy Motors (and son of the founder) what it means to have his company celebrate 85 years on the planet. “It means, well, just tremendous,” smiles Roy. “We've had a lot of fun doing business with a lot of people. We've made friends. And customers. And our customers are friends."
Martin Roy Junior was only eight years old when his father started the company back in 1936. Now 93, Martin Jr. has seen a lot of changes in the car business over the years.
“When I came into the business in 1948, automatic transmissions were relatively new,” recalls Roy. “In ‘52 they had power steering and power brakes; in 53 came air conditioning, and most people didn't have air conditioning in their homes.”
There are now five family members involved in Roy Motors, including Martin's three sons Robert, Charlie and Marty.
Growing up around a dealership, says Robert, meant everything involved the dealership.
“All of my siblings, we worked here. My brothers. We went through the service station, the office, the parts department; it’s been part of our lives forever. We went to car shows when we were little kids that was our vacation time.”
There's something to be said for longevity, and that includes employees. Sales guru Burley Lemon has been with Roy Motors for 26 years. “The people, the customers, Mr. Martin Roy and his family have been real good to me, and that’s one of the main reasons as to why I’m still here,” smiles Lemon.
Oldsmobiles and GMC Trucks were the company's bread and butter for a number of years; now it's Chevrolet. And as to why Roy Motors is still around? Robert recalls a message his dad once shared with him about customer service.
“He said, ‘You can buy an Oldsmobile anywhere Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Houston Texas. But they can only buy us---right here.”
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