CADILLAC – Buying a car is a major life event for most people, just like buying a home.

It can also be a stressful event, as anyone who has dealt with an unscrupulous salesperson can attest.

In Dan Moriarty’s opinion, the ultimate goal of a salesperson is to make customers happy so that they come back to the dealership for their next car; you can’t do this if you have a reputation for being dishonest and just looking to make a quick buck on your customers.

“You have to listen to their needs and if you don’t have the answers, find them for them,” Moriarty said. “You must treat them with honesty.”

This philosophy has served Moriarty well: since 1988, he has sold approximately 6,700 vehicles at Don’s Auto Clinic in Cadillac. This averages around 200 vehicles per year, he said.

“I had to do well,” Moriarty said. “They kept me around.”

Moriarty was hired by the dealership in 1982, first as a used car designer before becoming a salesperson six years later.

During his 40 years with Don’s, Moriarty has become a fixture in the dealership and in the community.

“He has an incredible number of loyal customers,” said Jillian Brewer, a fellow sales associate, who worked alongside Moriarty for approximately two years. “We take a lot of calls for him. It is a household name for many of our customers.

General manager’s father Darrin Nederhoed owned the dealership when Moriarty started, and they worked together in the retail department in the 1980s.

“He really takes care of the wants and needs of the customers,” Nederhoed said. “You can’t do this job for 40 years without taking care of customers.

Moriarty’s first month as a sales associate at Don’s was a trial by fire, as it was in the dead of winter, when going out to look at cars is the last thing most people do. people think.

“I sold nine cars this first month (which is actually not too bad),” Moriarty said. “I didn’t know what I was doing.

Gradually, Moriarty learned more about the company and, in about five years, was able to build a loyal following. As of that point, Moriarty said the vast majority of its sales came from these customers or referrals from those customers.

As well as being a natural person, Moriarty said what helped him endear many in the community was his father’s reputation. Moriarty’s father, Thomas, was a dentist at Cadillac, and so many people knew Moriarty through his father that they decided to put “Doc’s son” on his business cards.

While his father’s reputation served as an icebreaker for Moriarty in developing relationships with many people, he also strove to leave his own mark on Cadillac.

To this end, Moriarty has been involved with a number of service organizations over the past decades, including the Cadillac Jaycees, the Cadillac All Sports Association, the Chamber Leads Group, and the Cadillac Civil Service Commission. In 2017, Moriarty received the Mayor’s Recognition Award for Community Service and Volunteerism.

Nederhoed said that Moriarty’s involvement in the community has reflected well on the dealership over the years and is one of its strongest attributes.

While Moriarty intends to continue serving the community for the foreseeable future, including with the Cadillac Civil Service Commission, he believes the time has come to enter the next phase of his life: retirement. .

Moriarty said automobiles have continued to become more advanced, especially when it comes to high-tech security features like backup cameras and blind spot monitoring systems.

“It’s becoming a game for young people,” Moriarty said.

Another factor that weighs heavily on Moriarty’s decision to retire is the desire to be with his family in a more cohesive manner.

“I want to spend more time with my grandchildren and my children,” Moriarty said. “I regret the time I missed with them, but I don’t regret for a minute how successful they were. My wife has always supported me too.

Nederhoed said Moriarty will be sorely missed at the dealership, but the remaining sales staff are ready to take on their customers.

“He introduced a lot of customers to our other sellers,” Nederhoed said. “As a dealer, we will take care of his other customers the same way he does. “

Brewer has said she will miss Moriarty, who she and other staff like to joke with, but she has a feeling he’ll be there every now and then.

“He’s a lot of fun,” Brewer said. “And he’s a good athlete. He will come back to visit us and we will make up for it.

Don’s Auto Clinic will be hosting a retirement party for Moriarty on Wednesday, December 29, from noon to 4 p.m. at the dealership. The public is invited to attend.