The Greenwood family operates like a NASCAR team when it comes to running a business.
That’s the way Marty Greenwood described the family operations when he and his brother Mike recently sat down to discuss their recent acquisition of the former Tiffany Ford business in Hollister.
Marty Greenwood said when looking at race teams like Penske and Hendrick Motorsports, he thinks of his brother Mike in the same way.
“Mike went out there to get the very best car. He manages his team,” he said. “He knows without a driver and pit crew, you’re not going to win.”
In this scenario, Marty Greenwood is behind the wheel and the pit crew is a dedicated staff.
“I help him drive the car,” Greenwood said.
The brothers closed their purchase of Tiffany Ford – a 109-year-old fixture in Hollister and the oldest Ford dealership in California – at the end of August. It finalized the Tiffany family’s long run of ownership but began a new chapter for the Greenwood family, which has its own rich history of running local automotive businesses.
Former dealership owner Bob Tiffany and the Greenwoods agreed it was particularly important to continue the business under a family-run model. That’s the way the Greenwoods have been doing things since Mike Greenwood bought the Gilroy South County dealership in 1981.
He purchased the business from Harry Marx during a tough stretch and helped lift it out of bankruptcy. Greenwood in February 2018 sold the South County Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Trucks business at a time when the dealership had been moving thousands of vehicles each year. It was supposed to be his retirement, but now he’s back in the game with his partnership on the Hollister Ford business.
“I’ll never forget the car that helped us come out of the recession was the caravan, the minivan,” Mike Greenwood said from the newly minted Greenwood Ford dealership at 300 Gateway Drive in Hollister.
The Greenwoods are known for buying and owning auto dealerships, but it didn’t start that way for the siblings. In the 1970s, Mike Greenwood came from Patterson – the family’s roots are largely in the Stockton area – and went to work as an automotive banker with County Bank of Santa Cruz.
“I hung out with a lot of dealers,” Mike Greenwood said. “I said, ‘I’ve got to be a dealer one day.’”
That led him to visit Marx.
“He was ready to sell, and I was ready to buy,” he said. “So we got in, and ever since we’ve never looked back.”
Marty Greenwood took an even less traditional route into auto sales. He had aspirations to be a veterinarian or lawyer. But his brother in the early 80s asked him to come work at the Gilroy dealership for a summer, and Marty was hooked.
“I went and worked for him for a summer and I had more fun than I could’ve imagined,” he said. “He owned me after a couple months.”
Another brother Mark, who’s also in the industry, then got Marty an interview with Toyota Town in Stockton. He ended up working there for a decade before joining his brother’s operations in Gilroy in 1993. The family ended up purchasing the Hollister Chevy dealership in 2003, while the Greenwoods’ brother-in-law Rey Sotelo also runs Hollister Powersports. There are four Greenwood brothers in the car business along with Mike Greenwood’s son Brian.
“This is another opportunity for us to grow our family businesses,” Marty Greenwood said.
The two Greenwood brothers said they respect the 109-year history of Tiffany Ford and want to maintain the family tradition of the business.
“They’re just passing the baton to us,” Mike Greenwood said.
Most of the Tiffany Ford employees were expected to stay on board. Marty Greenwood called them “fantastic.”
“If you take care of your employees and you take care of your community and you absolutely take care of your customer, and you run a business with integrity, everything else falls into place,” he said.
The Ford dealership brought additional elements as well, such as a tow company, while the Greenwoods have diversified in other areas such as now owning a body shop.
“So we have all those elements going on now, and it’s pretty exciting,” Marty said.
With the Ford store, meanwhile, they wanted to make sure they could increase inventory to run the business under the Greenwood model. They worked with Ford to make it happen.
“We’ve got a lot of inventory coming,” he said. “With that, it’s going to be volume and pricing. And look, pricing is our model.”
Photo Caption: Marty Greenwood, left, and Mike Greenwood at the Greenwood Ford dealership on Gateway Drive in Hollister.