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The Spirit of Giving

Giving from Generation to Generation

Article by Bethany Wiley, MPH

Photography by Dyenamic Media Concepts

Originally published in Greeley Lifestyle

Having served Northern Colorado's automotive needs for over six decades, the Ghent Motor Company prides itself in giving back to Greeley and has contributed to numerous organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Highway Cleanup Crew, Humane Society of Weld County, Santa’s Silverado Sleigh, American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of Weld County, United Way and more.

When current Ghent Motor Company president, Bob Ghent, was seven years old, he recalls emulating his dad—playing pretend dealership with his Matchbox cars. Bob’s dad, Dwight Ghent, owned Ghent Motors in Fort Collins. In 1976, Bob began working in the car wash area at his dad’s dealership. Over a span of seven years, Bob worked in other roles as a leasing manager, salesman and sales manager. “I really loved and respected my father, and it was an easy decision to work for him,” Bob says.

Bob fondly recalls the giving spirit of his parents and how that transpired through owning a business. When Bob was working at his dad’s dealership, his dad encouraged him to get involved with United Way. “It opened my eyes to the needs of others,” Bob says. “I thought it was important and worth my time and effort.”

In 1989, with encouragement from his dad, Bob purchased the Chevrolet dealership in Greeley, even though he was in the midst of graduate school in Denver. That day, Bob came home to his wife, Ann, and said, “Honey, we bought a dealership and we’re moving to Greeley!”

Bob took a risk and quit graduate school to focus wholeheartedly on his business. Although he admits there were some growing pains during the first few years, Bob is glad he persevered, with his dad helping him every step of the way. Since then, the Ghent Motor Company has grown and acquired the Cadillac franchise. “Owning a business in Greeley has offered me so much and the outcome is way better than I could have ever imagined,” Bob says.

Just like Bob, his son Erick Ghent, also worked at his dad’s dealership when he was growing up. While in high school, he started as a Ghent Motor lot attendant. After attending the University of Colorado Boulder, he moved to Kansas City and worked at a dealership. Now, Erick is back in Greeley and has been working alongside his dad for eight years, as the general sales manager. Erick is grateful to be living in Greeley again—in a town that he loves, surrounded by family, friends and great people—including his girlfriend and support system, Kendall Johnson, a local real estate agent.

When he was growing up, Erick remembers witnessing the giving spirit of his grandparents and parents. He wholeheartedly believes that the giving mindset can be passed down from generation to generation. “When I was growing up, my mom and I would go the Weld Food Bank to volunteer,” Erick says. “Seeing others’ generosity shows you how a community can flourish and grow.”

Bob and Erick acknowledge that working with family can have its challenges, but the blessings are endless, and with a focus on giving back, it keeps them bonded. “It’s simply a given for us—we’re local residents, we’re a family-owned and operated business, and when we see challenges in our community, we think of ways we can help,” Erick says.

Giving is part of the Ghent Motor Company’s mission and generosity is ingrained in everything they do. Ghent Motors encourages its employees to give, whether it’s through fun challenges, games, teambuilding, volunteering, matching employee donations or hosting the annual Trunk or Treat and the holiday toy drive.

Giving back can be achieved in different ways, whether it’s by giving time, resources, finances or just encouraging others. “Giving is not a requirement, but the gesture is a testament to your character and gives you a feeling that you’re doing the right thing,” Erick says.

Bob and Erick recognize that giving is a collective effort. Erick is inspired by the many local businesses and other car dealerships that he has witnessed give generously to make a difference. “We are blessed to be in a community that gives so much,” Erick says. “It takes all of us to give back to make the greatest impact.”

Bob loves the Greeley community and agrees with the slogan—Greeley is unexpected. “Until you live here, you don’t know what Greeley offers,” Bob says. “It’s the people that make up the fabric of this community that are the true gems…it’s a generous community.”

“We are blessed to be in a community that gives so much, it takes all of us to give back to make the greatest impact.” - Erick 

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