In 1994, Sid Phillips found himself at a crossroads. He had been a banker in his hometown of Buckhannon for 12 years, but times were changing. Bank mergers usually make it harder for a loan officer to make a decision for his or her customer, and Sid was feeling the effects of this after TWO mergers. He simply didn’t feel he could help his customers the way he was accustomed to.
Sid was an athlete from a young age. He was a very talented artist, painting countless paintings for people. Not as a means to make a living; he usually gave them away as gifts. He was a loan officer who was there to help his customers. He had zero experience selling cars, but he did have plenty of experience buying them.
“I remember test driving a car that I only drove about a mile up the road and back to the dealership. I made the quick decision to buy it. A day or so later, I took that car up a hill for the first time, and it had ZERO power. Had I known this, I would have NEVER bought it.”
When Sid made the risky decision to leave the security of his 9-5 job and jump into the auto industry with both feet, he had one mission: help people buy a dependable car they could afford. (notice that doesn't say sell cars… that’s not how Sid viewed it).
“When I was at the bank, people would come to me needing a loan for all sorts of things. I took a lot of pride in helping them secure the funds they needed. It was gratifying to help people, which was my main focus when I opened Number One Auto.”
So, on Valentine’s Day 1995, Sid opened the doors on a 12x24, two-room “hut” he built himself, and Number One Auto was open for business. The small lot housed 12 vehicles on a gravel lot.
Today, Number One Auto is a family-owned and operated business that Sid and his son, Shea, run together. Sid is the President and Shea is the General Manager. Together, they have built Number One Auto into one of the top independent dealerships in all of West Virginia. Their main mission, their “motto”: Help people. That’s it… it really is that simple. Help people.
Helping people is why Sid & Shea have a full-service department that is exclusive to their customers. What does that mean? If they have a customer in need of a mechanical fix on their vehicle, the customer gets in for service fast. In addition to this, Number One Auto’s hourly labor rate for their service department is a fraction of what most service shops charge. This is a testament of the commitment they have in helping people: be here when their customers need them, and help keep the cost of auto maintenance to a minimum.
“Giving away a lot of free labor doesn’t make much business sense from a financial standpoint, but that’s not what it’s about,” remarked Shea. “We’re not required to have a service department; we choose to. In fact, we are one of the only independent dealerships in Central West Virginia that have one. But we know we wouldn’t be able to take care of our customers’ needs if we didn’t. So it’s there for them as a courtesy. And they love seeing how much money they save over the life of owning a vehicle from our family business. That’s why they come back again and again, and we love them for it.”
The fact that Sid entered into the car business with zero previous experience might have been viewed by some as a huge risk, but he clearly viewed it as a huge advantage. “The main reason why people hate buying cars has nothing to do with the car - it has to do with their experience in selecting the car. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a customer say, ‘I detest buying a new car. It’s so stressful.’ People have such an emotional tie to the vehicle they drive, so the fact that the process of selecting their next ride is stressful makes absolutely no sense to me,” Sid said. “The reason I believe this is true is because the person standing between them and their new ride is focusing on making a profit rather than the customer’s needs and wants. If you focus on the customer’s wishes and desires, it’s easy to make the process a good one for everyone.”
This is why customers rave about the experience they have when they come to Number One Auto for the first time.
When Sid opened Number One Auto Sales in 1995, he had modest goals, but even he couldn’t have predicted how successful his new adventure would be…. on a national level at that! Number One Auto Sales is a 25-time winner of the National Quality Dealer Award presented by PWI, a third party warranty company that recognizes only a small percentage of their dealers each year. The award is based on the lowest claims ratio of their warranties and service contracts. Simply put: Number One Auto sells BETTER VEHICLES, and these 25 consecutive Quality Awards are proof of that.
In 2012, Number One Auto Sales was awarded the National Pursuit of Excellence Award for their continued drive to be better for their customers. In 2018, they were named the National Elite Dealer.
Back in 2010, Number One Auto was awarded what Sid calls his most precious award: National Dealer of Integrity. “For nearly 30 years, we have conducted our business the right way. We know this and our customers know this, but when a national, third party company recognizes this, and singles you out compared to all their independent dealers across the nation, it’s something special,” remarked Sid.
In 2019, the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association selected Sid from a pool of over 33,000 dealers to be their National Outstanding Pioneer Award Winner. This honor was presented to him at the NIADA National Convention in Las Vegas in June of 2019, a trip that Sid and Shea will cherish forever.
While the awards keep pouring in for Sid and Shea, they remain focused on their primary goal that Sid established back in 1995: help people. It’s what we do best, and our customers love us for it.
If you haven’t had the experience of coming to Number One Auto Sales, we encourage you to Drive On Down, stop by, have a cup of coffee and a cookie, and you’ll quickly see what makes us better, and different from any other car-buying experience on the planet! We hope to see you soon; it would be our pleasure to help you!
Integrity Award – 2010
Pursuit of Excellence Award – 2012
NIADA National Outstanding Pioneer Award – 2019
National Quality Dealer Award – 1995
National Quality Dealer Award – 1996
National Quality Dealer Award – 1997
National Quality Dealer Award – 1998
National Quality Dealer Award – 1999
National Quality Dealer Award – 2000
National Quality Dealer Award – 2001
National Quality Dealer Award – 2002
National Quality Dealer Award – 2003
National Quality Dealer Award – 2004
National Quality Dealer Award – 2005
National Quality Dealer Award – 2006
National Quality Dealer Award – 2007
National Quality Dealer Award – 2008
National Quality Dealer Award – 2009
National Quality Dealer Award – 2010
National Quality Dealer Award – 2011
National Quality Dealer Award – 2012
National Quality Dealer Award – 2013
National Quality Dealer Award – 2014
National Quality Dealer Award – 2015
National Quality Dealer Award – 2016
National Quality Dealer Award – 2017
National Quality Dealer Award – 2018
National Quality Dealer Award – 2019