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By Tim Petruk - Kamloops This Week
Published: November 18, 2010 1:00 PM
Updated: November 18, 2010 1:02 PM
Rivershore Chrysler Jeep general manager Dan Laporte has known for a while his dealership is a good place for a woman to purchase a vehicle.

Now, he has a piece of paper proving just that.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 17, the Valleyview dealership became the first business in B.C. to receive the Women Certified seal of approval.

Laporte learned of the Ontario-based program in the summer, when he spotted an article about it in a car magazine.

“It moulded in completely with our way of doing business,” he said.

“It jumped out at me as the way we were already doing business and gave us a designation to reinforce.”

Laporte cut out the magazine article and gave it to Larriena Lonsberry, the only woman who works on Rivershore’s sales floor.

“You put Lorriena in charge of something and she’s just the Energizer Bunny,” Laporte said.

“She goes and goes and goes.”

That she did.

“A light went on and I thought, ‘Holy smokes! This is something we should do,’” Lonsberry said.

“So I sent off an email.”

That was in September.

Now, just a few months later, Rivershore Chrysler Jeep is officially Women Certified — meaning staff at the dealership have received training to make sure women aren’t taken advantage of on the sales floor.

“A lot of women, they will find the mailman or whoever to bring in to the dealership because they don’t want to feel like they’re being taken advantage of,” Lonsberry said.

“That’s not going to happen here.

“It’s not girl power and being pink. It’s making sure we meet the expectations of women.

“And, if we do that, we’ll exceed the expectations of men.”

The process to become Women Certified involved taking a number of online training courses and an in-house training session earlier this week, taught by instructors who flew to Kamloops from Ontario.

“This isn’t a program that just anybody can have,” said Sharlene Dobson, marketing and media relations co-ordinator with Women Certified, who was at Rivershore on Wednesday.

“You have to meet the needs of women.

“If a woman comes in here and has an awesome experience, she’s going to tell her friends.”

Dobson said she’s been impressed with what she has seen at Rivershore.

“I have to say, to date, this has been the most enjoyable experience I’ve had with the program,” she said.

“At the end of the day, this is just a place where women from Kamloops can come in and purchase a vehicle — no push, no touch, no shove.

“We’re really, really proud to have them on board. They’ll be like our poster child.”

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Comment by SUSAN HAIR on December 9, 2010 at 10:14am

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