Bill Welch, The Excitement of the Hunt… The Simplicity of Life
Welch Motors, Inc
Welch Motors, Inc was founded by Bill Welch in March of 2006. Bill keeps that date written on the first dollar he ever made. That dollar still hangs on his wall today as a reminder of his very first victory (or sale) at Welch. “It was a Ford Windstar.” Bill recalls, “I had opened my doors a couple of weeks earlier on March 1st and sold my first car March 6th, just five days later.
Bill has been in the auto industry his entire adult life. He actually started as a lot boy (a gopher) for what was once Henry’s Toyota in Benton Harbor, Michigan. “I worked myself through the company. I was a mechanic's helper, a mechanic, a service writer (who sells you service when you pull into a dealership), a body shop manager and even a service manager. They tried to get me into sales but my stepfather and a friend of mine both sold cars there so I really didn’t want to compete with them… even though I would have made a lot more money.”
“My stepfather and my buddy had both left Henry and went to work for Jim Basney on the new auto side of the business.” Bill stated. “At that time they both attempted to persuade me to come to work there. Eventually, I’m not sure of exactly when but sometime in the early 80’s, directly after Henry’s closed, I went to work for Basney on the used car side. I immediately went into sales and I was scared to death, especially because it was a commission only basis.”
Bill recalled those times, “It was interesting because we all lived in Sawyer, Michigan then and all three of us rode to work together every morning. It was about a 45 mile drive, each way, each day. It was nice because Basney gave all 3 of us the same time off and let us start at the same time every day, so we could all carpool together. Back then demos were pretty common. Fortunately for us, Basney gave us one to use and it worked out perfectly.”
Welch spoke of his long history with Basney. “I was there for close to 20 years, with the exception of about a year at which time I went to work for Bob Hayden. I really think that I would still be there if Basney hadn’t sold the store. In fact, I stayed with the buyer (Gurley Leep) for about 10 months after Basney sold, before I decided to leave.