Kathy Connors Benke is one of three siblings operating the family business of Connors Automotive in Chesterton. Along with her co-owners, brothers Jack and Mike, she works with a team of additional family members and others, in selling and servicing new and used vehicles.
Tell us a little about your business...
Connors Automotive has been selling and servicing new and used vehicles since 1975. Our family owns and operates the Buick, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram dealership located in Chesterton, at the corner of Route 49 and Porter Avenue. Jack and Phyllis Connors purchased the Buick Pontiac franchise in 1975. Today, the second generation of the Connors family runs the business – our mother is still a member of our team.
What sets your business apart?
Our family is involved in the daily operations of sales and service. We are dedicated to offering truly personalized service to our customers – and all of our valuable employees are committed to a single goal of treating customers with respect and fairness.
At Connors, we know our customers by name rather than customer number. That means, when you come into Connors – whether you’re looking for a vehicle, buying a part, or needing you car serviced — we first “catch up” on kids, grandchildren, or whatever is happening in life, because we truly care about our customers. And we know our customers are busy with their jobs and families. So we work to get them whatever they need, while accommodating both budgets and busy schedules.
Small businesses present challenges. What are some challenges you have faced?
As a small business, we have to work harder to maximize our budget and productivity. We monitor costs and look for ways to improve productivity.
And of course, owning a small business isn’t an 8-5 job. We all wear several hats. We view our size as an opportunity to express our personalized service to each person walking through the door. Whether it’s waiting on a customer in the service department, or showing them how a feature on their new vehicle works, we feel it’s a perfect time as an owner to show our appreciation for the customer’s patronage.
This commitment to going the extra mile has resulted in longstanding customers who have consistently returned to us for both sales and service, since 1975 — because they know we care.
Why did you decide to do business with Horizon Bank?
Kent Mishler, our commercial lending officer, originally developed the relationship between Connors Automotive and Horizon. In addition to competitive rates, Kent’s extensive experience and guidance has allowed our business to grow and focus on what we enjoy most: selling and servicing cars.
Our local branch in Chesterton is also convenient and friendly. The staff is especially helpful when we have unique questions. Similar to our business, I am always greeted with a member of Horizon’s staff who is eager to help.