LONDON, Ky.—Nestled in the embracing arms of the Daniel Boone National Forest, London shares its home state with Mammoth Cave National Park, which encompasses portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system in the world.
But as massive as that network of underground caverns is, Mom Nature’s awesome formation can’t match the mammoth effort Roy Schott has put forth to provide incredibly first-rate service to customers of Schott’s Marathon and U-Haul Dealership for the past 55 years.
“Adding” it up
Schott came to his association with the Company–as did many other dealers of his day–by reading.
“I came across an ad in a magazine asking if service station operations wanted to join the U-Haul organization,” Schott reminisced. “I saw it as a golden opportunity and asked to be signed up as a U-Haul outlet.”
Time dulls recollections, and long gone is the memory of which magazine he was reading decades ago when the idea of becoming a U-Haul Dealer came to fruition. But Schott clearly remembers that in August 1960 he welcomed U-Haul rental equipment to his automotive-service business.
Always into vehicles
Schott started wrenching around motor vehicles when he was 15.
“That’s what got me started down this path of life,” he recalled. “My first job was in a garage, and I really liked that line of work. When I went into the Army, I was assigned to the motor pool because of my background and experience … and rose to the rank of motor sergeant, some 63 years ago in Korea.”
After being mustered out of the military, Schott reconnected with a stateside buddy who had a new service station he wanted the ex-GI to run. So Schott “enlisted” with his friend in 1955, and operated the business for five years before becoming a U-Haul Dealer.
As would be expected back in the day, equipment was sometimes scarce, but U-Haul Company had a novel way of enticing customers to rent its equipment.
“A trailer would rent for $3 a day and the customer would have free use of a rental hitch,” Schott remarked. “The Company didn’t charge for a hitch, and of course I couldn’t,” Schott added, “though later on U-Haul added a $1 charge for a hitch rental.”
Keys to success
“You really have to depend on good help if you want to make it in this business,” Schott advised. “I’ve had one man who worked for me for 55 years. Another employee was with me for 40 years, and another one for 30. There’s really no way around the need to have good people to support your efforts.”
Schott added that a U-Haul Dealer’s success also depends on the quality of the operation’s area field manager (AFM).
“That’s just something you can’t get around,” he emphasized, “the help of a good AFM. And then there’s customer service. You’ve simply got to take care of your customers. That’s the only way you’ll get them to come back again. And make sure you treat all of your customers the way you want to be treated.”
Marketing Company President Chris Nester, U-Haul Company of Louisville, lauded the quality efforts Schott has put forth during his years of service to his community and U-Haul Company.
“I have known Roy now for 20 years and I don’t think there’s a better, more steadfast, rock-solid U-Haul Dealer in Southern Kentucky than him,” Nester praised. “Roy is still active every day at his dealership and is well known as Mr. U-Haul in his community.
“Our ability to serve customers is enhanced by having Roy at the helm in London,” Nester continued. “So congratulations to Roy and his dealership for 55-plus years of excellent service.”
Has any business served your community for more than half a century? Share your experiences with them in the comments!