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@Work: Community Motors

Dec. 2, 2004 – Wandering through Creque Alley in downtown Charlotte Amalie, you'd never guess that all those little gift shops were once home to the Virgin Islands' oldest single-owned auto dealership. Community Motors got its start there in 1928, when Henry O. Creque hung his first shingle.
Creque died in 1956, but his legacy in the automobile industry continued, this time with his wife, Margaret, at the helm. Back then, she sold Chevrolets, about 10 a month she says. Margaret was the first woman to be awarded an overseas General Motors franchise. By the time the 1960s rolled around, Margaret realized she was sitting on prime real estate for the tourism trade. She sold the land downtown and moved out.
"I moved the dealership out to Frenchtown. In those days it was country out there. They said I'd never make it. Well I did," says Margaret. She's made one more move since then, this time to Lindbergh Bay where the hub of the business has been since 1980. That's also around the time when she decided to break away from G.M. and sell import vehicles
While Margaret worked on the business, she put her children to work as well. Her son Bill Creque cut his teeth working with Community Motors, at one time or another working in every single department. Now Bill and his wife Marcela take care of the day-to-day management and operations, while Margaret maintains a more flexible role.
"I love this business. I put a lot of work into this business, in all of the departments," Bill says. "We have a very happy staff. We have a good time here. It's important that we work together as a team. The whole foundation, the whole thing is based on customer service."
It's the kind of customer service best provided by people who have spent some time in the business. When Bill lists the credentials of his management team, it adds up to more than 150 years' experience.
"All of us here know this industry, the car industry, inside out. We know what has to happen, what needs to get done. The customer is happy, the car is delivered, and they feel satisfied with the service."
In addition to the Lindbergh Bay location which sells Suzuki, Community Motors has a Honda and Acura store in Tutu. The Creque family also owns the Frenchtown Texaco gas station and Dependable Car Rental, which is run by Fedora Creque, Bill's 24-year-old daughter.
"I mean to maintain the legacy of the Creque family in the automotive industry and pass it on to my kids," says Bill. "I mean to provide a livelihood for our employees, and provide the service to the island. It's probably the oldest locally owned dealership on the island. We need to keep it locally owned."
Community Motors has a full-service body shop with a chassis machine, and experienced personnel to work on it. "We have a state of the art alignment bench. It has a 12,000-pound scissor jack. It's perfectly calibrated. We have a wheel balancer. Paint booth. We get the factory coated paint coat so it matches perfectly," says Bill.
Community Motors also sells pre-owned vehicles—both from the island and imported. According to Bill, most of the employees working for the family business have been there for more than 15 years. What's the secret?
"We're a family. In the morning you can yell and scream and in the afternoon we're all having drinks. At the end of the day, we are all best friends."

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