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Five Questions with Josh Loop & Darrell Watson
Co-Owners, Ole Ben Franklin Mitsubishi
FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is celebrating dealer partners who go above and beyond for their communities. They provide more than just a great place to buy a car – they help their home towns thrive in the good times and heal in the challenging times. They rise to the occasion in support of the community, whatever the occasion may be. This month, we are proud to feature Josh Loop and Darrell Watson, co-owners of Ole Ben Franklin Mitsubishi in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
1. You became co-owners of the store on January 1, 2021, after your father-in-law (who is currently fishing in Cabo, as he should be) retired. Congratulations all around! What will define the next generation of Ole Ben Franklin Mitsubishi?
Our plan is to optimize an already well-built company, using the Mitsubishi Motors brand as a springboard for future success. For the past 33 years, Ole Ben Franklin Mitsubishi has been well-known in the community as a car dealer that provides financing solutions for everyone. In 2021, we still have strong financing solutions, and a massive selection of used vehicles, but we also have a showroom filled with all-new or completely-refreshed Mitsubishi vehicles, bringing a new generation of customers through our doors. We don't want to re-write the book on Ole Ben Franklin, we just want to add an exciting chapter or two.
2. Most people see their father-in-law over holidays or for an occasional, weekend visit. You both went to work for your father-in-law (Josh, just after you married your wife, and Darrell, while you were still dating your wife). What is that like?
When we are at work, we are still family. When we are at home with family, we still talk about work. We are also all neighbors, living right next door to one another. We all treat each other with respect and do our best to hold each other accountable – on the show room floor and standing around the grill in the back yard. Our father-in-law and founder of Ben Franklin, Mike, was a great boss and paved our way forward by building a brand that carries regional recognition. Most importantly, he showed us that if we respect the business and remain loyal to family, we can't go wrong.
3. You're young, energetic – you say yourselves that you're not suit-and-tie guys. Describe the sales and customer service philosophy that has gotten you to this point.
"You've got a friend down at Ole Ben" is something we like to say – the best part is that it's true! We want to meet and exceed our customers' expectations in a comfortable, casual environment. We approach each interaction as an opportunity to meet a new friend or deepen a relationship that already exists.
4. Whether at the local high school football, soccer or wheelchair basketball game, or at a teacher fundraiser, your support and the Ole Ben Franklin name are visible throughout your community. Why is it so important for you to be hands-on?
Tennessee is our home. We love it. We are invested in it. We all grew up here, and we are blessed to raise our families here too. It is important to us to help when and where we can. This means sponsoring the local teams and cheering them on from the stands. It means rallying customers and vendors and partners to collect Halloween costumes for kids who may not have them, so they can enjoy being a kid. We consider it an honor to give back to the people in our community that have supported our business for more than three decades.
5. Mitsubishi is your only brand, and therefore your focus day-in and day-out. What has been so special about the brand for you, up until this point? What excites you about the future of the brand?
The Mitsubishi brand has seamlessly integrated with our business model and performs well with our existing customer base. Better than that, the brand has allowed us to reach new customers, with a new product, that we could not reach before. Mitsubishi Motors recently relocated its headquarters to Franklin, Tennessee, a couple of hours down the road, to a beautiful new facility. Very soon, our showroom will feature an all-new Outlander, a completely redesigned Eclipse Cross, a restyled Mirage and Mirage G4 and an updated Outlander Sport. Our team watched the 2022 Outlander reveal on Amazon together, excited, along with the rest of the world. The commitment to product design and quality, and the dealer support from regional and national leadership, has us extremely engaged. We are excited to push for growth and drive success for Ole Ben Franklin with our MMNA partners.