Varsity Lincoln has sold more vehicles than any other Lincoln dealer in the country for 22 consecutive years.
It has won top customer service awards from Ford Motor Company and was recognized in 2019 for “Customer Service Excellence” at the Novi Chamber of Commerce annual Toast of the Town gala.
Every year, the Varsity Lincoln team partners with more than 200 charitable organizations, including schools, churches and nonprofit organizations in Metro Detroit. As a result of that generosity, Varsity Lincoln earned a nomination this year for the Chamber’s Community Builder award.
A list of the countless organizations which have benefitted from the Novi dealership’s generosity are on its website, but you won’t find it without a sitemap search.
“Varsity doesn’t boast about our community partnerships because it is something we feel is innate to our culture; it’s not something we do for recognition, it is just who we are and helping others is the part of the golden rule,” explained Nicole Smerecki, event/sponsorship coordinator. “We just want to give to the community. We try to reach out and help as many people as we can. Our goal is to truly be a part of the community and have an impact on other’s lives.”
Smerecki, a longtime Varsity Lincoln employee, is intimately involved with every donation. She and other Varsity team members attend every event the dealership supports and love to meet sponsorship recipients and hear their stories.
When she took the job, Varsity Lincoln General Manager Jere Law shared words of wisdom.
“He told me, ‘You can give the largest donation in the world, but if you don’t personally invest in the cause or don’t show you care, then that money doesn’t matter.’ So, I show up, I listen, and I care. And, not only do these donations and relationships impact those in need, but also enriches our lives, too,” Smerecki said.
FROM TOP DOWN
Law credits Varsity Lincoln President Mike Stanford for creating a culture that gives employees the flexibility to “do the right thing,” no matter if they are dealing with customers or partnering with charitable causes.
The City of Novi recognized Stanford’s giving quality, as well. In 2014, Stanford was presented with the “Spirit of Giving” award at the Annual State of the City Address. Mayor Bob Gatt presented the award saying Novi is blessed to have some of the kindest people and Stanford is a shining example of what it means to give back to the community. Stanford regularly assists the Novi Police and Fire Benevolent Association, the Novi Youth Assistance, and the Novi Public Library.
The Mayor also spoke highly of Stanford saying, “He is the first to say yes to Novi Youth Assistance, recognizing that there are those who are less fortunate and wanting all Novi children to succeed.”
“The guiding principle for customer service is treating people the exact way you want to be treated,” Law said. “If you always do the right thing, you never have to worry whether or not you got it right. It’s that simple. That’s what makes us number one. “Charitable work gives you an opportunity to show what is really important to you. Sure, selling and servicing Lincolns gives us life, but giving back is what sets us apart and gives us heart and soul.”
Philanthropy also underscores Varsity Lincoln’s commitment to Novi.
“The City welcomed us more than 20 years ago. They wanted us to be a part of the community and we’ve never forgotten that,” Law said. “Being a part of the community allows you to be part of a family. It’s the way we’ve been treated. It’s the way we treat our employees and our employees’ families.”
Smerecki receives countless donation applications and tries hard to respond and honor requests from a variety of organizations, including churches, schools, athletic groups, and non-profit entities.
“We’ve been avid supporters of the American Cancer Society, Angela Hospice, ALS of Michigan, Ascension Providence Hospital, the Friendship Circle and more,” Smerecki said. “Many times our Varsity team members or customers have a friend or family member experiencing a difficult circumstance and feel passionately about a cause. When they come to us, it is our duty to support and give back to something so near and dear to them.”
Law is hesitant to single out any specific event and says all donation requests are important. However, he is especially proud of the relationship between Varsity Lincoln and Ascension Providence Hospital Novi. He can’t say enough about the hospital’s commitment to the community.
“The people we consider friends and clients have a place they can go and be taken care of in their time of need,” Law said. “I find there are very few hospitals that provide the service, dedication, care, and quite honestly, the love that Ascension has for all people.”
Smerecki says she has the best job in the world, helping the dealership she loves give back to the community. “It is more than gratifying to provide support to others and become part of their story, enriching their lives, there’s nothing better.”