Jim Wilson Chevrolet Buick GMC

The Story of the Silverado Sheriff

Jim Wilson, Owner and President of Jim Wilson Chevrolet Buick GMC, sold his first car at 15 years old in his father’s small-town Chevrolet store. Wilson’s love of the automobile industry continued to grow as he entered adulthood. Today, more than 40 years after his first sale, Jim Wilson’s name resonates as synonymous with success in Ontario’s automobile industry.

A Family Affair

Jim Wilson Chevrolet, located in Orillia, Ontario, opened their doors in the spring of 1992 with 28 employees. As of 2014, the dealership employs 51 team members and the 26,000 square foot facility holds approximately 225 new Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC vehicles and about 75 pre-owned vehicles of varying brands.

The Wilson family has been in the automotive industry for three generations. Wilson’s father introduced young Jim to a love of cars through the family Chevrolet store. Wilson’s passion remained with him after he completed university in 1981, when he began working for Dome Petroleum in Sarnia, Ontario.

In 1983, Wilson bought a Honda dealership in North Bay, Ontario. The small store of 6 employees held only about 7 new cars and 14 pre-owned. Wilson’s willpower and hard work grew the store into a highly successful operation. By 1987, the Honda dealership had moved to a larger location, and sold about 700 units annually.

Wilson sold his Honda store in early 1991. He opened Jim Wilson Chevrolet in the Spring of 1992 with 28 employees, eight of whom remain with the company today. In 2006, Wilson moved the dealership to a new, larger location within Orillia, Ontario.

With the support of his wife, Karen, and their three children, Ashleigh, James, and Victoria, Jim Wilson created a well-known automotive company. Ashleigh and James now work alongside their father within the dealership.

“We’re on our third generation of involvement – everybody in the auto industry knows us!” says Wilson.

Who is the Silverado Sheriff?

In 1999, Chevrolet introduced a new Silverado truck. Wilson decided to attempt a unique advertising approach to bring attention to the new product. Together with an ad agency in Guelph, Wilson created his new persona as ‘The Silverado Sheriff’.

“The campaign was an instant success,” explains Wilson, “We still use it today. It works extremely well.”

“When I studied at the University of Waterloo, I met people who knew about the Silverado Sheriff – I couldn’t believe they knew about us! The name is definitely something recognized across Ontario,” explains Wilson’s daughter, Ashleigh.

The Silverado Sheriff continues to appear in Jim Wilson Chevrolet radio and poster advertisements, teaching local automobile enthusiasts about the dealership’s wide selection of car types and financing options.

Putting Customer Service First

Customers from every corner of Canada come to visit the Jim Wilson Chevrolet team. With car buyers ordering from as far as British Columbia and Newfoundland, it’s no surprise Wilson has become a key figure in Canada’s automotive sales industry.

“I’ve had customer’s drive over eight hours just to have us do their oil change,” says Ashleigh, “They want the kind of high-quality service we provide.”

“One of our customers flies in from Thunder Bay whenever he needs to buy a new vehicle. He hasn’t bought a car anywhere else for the past 10 years!” explains James.

Community Involvement

Jim Wilson Chevrolet has experienced tremendous provincial and national success. However, the team always remembers their small-town roots and the importance of giving back to the community.

“If you’re going to do any kind of business, you need to get involved in the wider community,” says Wilson, “We support many different types of charities, from the local rowing club, to the library, to sponsoring our minor league hockey, baseball, and lacrosse teams, only to mention a few.”

“A lot of the people we’ve done business with we know on a personal level. We’ve had dinner with them – they’re our friends,” explains Ashleigh.

Jim Wilson Chevrolet’s support of their local community gives the team the opportunity to connect with their clients on a personal level, meeting the families who comprise their customer base. Recognition of their community involvement is proudly displayed throughout the dealership.
Service in every Stage of a Car’s Lifetime.

At Jim Wilson Chevrolet, buying a car is only the first part of the customer experience. The team continues to assist whenever possible in every stage of vehicle ownership. They boast a highly successful, well-staffed Detail Department. Their Parts & Service Department, headed by members of the dealership’s original staff, aims to provide each customer with the best possible experience.

“I once had a customer that would always come to us for service, but never once bought a car,” James explains, “I finally sold him one earlier this year, but it was the great service that kept him coming back.”

The dealership also aids customers in arranging the right financing option for their needs. They’re associated with several national banks, and hold a strong relationship Royal Bank, TD, ScotiaBank, BMO and GM Financial. Options offered include prime financing, non-prime financing, and leasing.

Continued Growth in the Internet Age

“One of our biggest focuses going forward is improving our online presence,” says Ashleigh, “More and more people are ordering products at home, particularly in the auto industry. Through our internet growth, we’ve been able to get people visiting our building that may have otherwise never known we existed.”

Over the past year, Jim Wilson Chevrolet’s internet development has increased substantially. A quick Google search will direct you to the company’s website and advertisements. To manage this growing online operation, Jim Wilson Chevrolet recently created an internet specific department within their facility to handle all online dealings.

Jim Wilson Chevrolet’s welcoming environment and dedicated staff give it a competitive advantage within the auto sales industry. Every morning at 9:15 a.m., each member of the management team can be found meeting together, discussing their achievements, goals, and strategic plans. This unified approach resonates with Jim Wilson Chevrolet’s customers. Visitors can be sure to receive the best and most honest service.