The Penkhus Motor Company that you see today had its humble beginning back in 1951 when Robert N. Penkhus moved his young family from Ames, Iowa, and opened a small used car operation in Colorado Springs.
Driving past Motor City, you can’t miss the Bob Penkhus sign proudly displaying their long-time slogan “Where Nobody Buys Just One.” Within the first five minutes of meeting Bob Penkhus, it’s obvious he has a love for his customers and employees. Couple that with his enthusiasm for their products and the result is continued success and growth that has them celebrating 60 years of service in the Pikes Peak region. “It’s fun to be recognized as the ‘nobody buys just one’ guy when I’m out in the community. It gives me real world opportunities to meet customers and hear what they like and don’t like, enabling us to keep improving,” says Bob.
The Penkhus Motor Company that you see today had its humble beginning back in 1951 when Robert N. Penkhus moved his young family from Ames, Iowa, and opened a small used car operation in Colorado Springs, Colorado. New cars were added to the operation on Pikes Peak Avenue in 1957 when the Company became one of the ten dealers in the United States to obtain a Volvo Franchise. Quality products and a commitment to customer service assured their growth. What started as a small car dealership has now exploded into a 3-location business that offers customers Volvo, Mazda, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi sales and service.
Bob Penkhus, Robert’s son and current President / Owner of the dealership was a permanent fixture around his father’s dealership. After graduating with a business degree in marketing from Denver University, Bob joined the family business and in 1973 began running his own Mazda Store. In 1977 Bob became President of Penkhus Motor Company and has successfully expanded its operations to a total of 3 stores. Today, he remains actively involved and now proudly works alongside his son Rob Penkhus, General Manager.
When Living Well Magazine asked Bob about this milestone in business he says, “As I’m speaking with you today, my lovely wife and I are celebrating our 42nd wedding anniversary. When I think about what Dad started back in 1951 and the dealership celebrating 60 years, I’m reminded that when you’re doing what you love, time evaporates.” Over the years Bob has certainly has earned his chops in the auto industry. In 2016, he was nominated for The TIME Dealer of the Year Award, one of the industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. Out of over 16,000 dealers nationwide, Bob was only one of 50 auto dealers selected to attend the national competition. In addition, Bob was awarded the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross “2011 Humanitarian of the Year” for his role supporting the earthquake victims in Haiti. “I’m a certified airline transport pilot and one of my passions is flying my King Air,” says Bob. “I flew eight local doctors from Colorado Springs to Miami to stage for relief efforts. From Miami we flew into Haiti and provided critical first response support. Commercial flights were not able to land right after the earthquake, so I made multiple trips flying between Haiti and Miami to deliver medical staff and supplies. It was one of the most amazing events I’ve ever had the privilege to serve and be a part of.” This is just one example of the character Bob displays, making it no surprise that his enthusiasm for greatness has resulted in success and growth for the family business.
During the holiday season, two personal passions of the Penkhus’ family include their annual Toys for Tots holiday drive and supporting the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado. This year, for every new car sold, their dealership donates 200 pounds of food with an end goal of 100,000 pounds.
Bob and his wife Leslie have three children and nine grandchildren. One of their sons, Rob tells us “after high school I left Colorado to attend Arizona State in Phoenix, Arizona. I applied for a sales position at the local Toyota dealership – not letting on that my family was in the car business. I set a personal goal to secret shop over fifty dealerships as a potential customer. My desire was to learn every facet of my craft and be the absolute best at it. This research gave me valuable insight into the customer’s expectations when shopping for a new car. I take great pride in customer service and this time in Arizona provided a valuable foundation that guides me today as I work with our customers and continue the family legacy.”
Spend just a few minutes with Rob and you’ll see, like his Dad and Grandfather, he loves people. Rob tells us one of his favorite aspects of auto sales is making new friends. “I always love meeting new customers and understanding their lifestyle goals and desires.” Rob is passionate about staying up with current trends, safety features, and choices. “I feel I’m always putting my customers into the right vehicle for their needs,” he says. Rob is known for giving out his cell phone and personal email address to customers. He loves hearing feedback and having his thumb on the heartbeat of the business. “My youngest daughter is just like me. She has so much salesmanship in her already. It wouldn’t surprise me is she joined the family business one day to carry on the family legacy.”