The Great Texas Oil Change
Any business that doesn’t expand to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers is destined for a short life. Since their beginning, the Sewell family of companies has continuously grown to offer their clients the best service possible, with the goal of not only giving their patrons an excellent dealership and service experience, but also maintaining a positive influence in their community.
The company got its start back in 1911 when founder E.F. Sewell’s hardware store and movie theater became the first Ford Model T dealer in the area. The cars arrived in crates, which Sewell would assemble for his customers before giving them lessons on how to operate the new machine. During the Great Depression, Carl Sewell Sr., E.F.’s son, opened a new dealership in the oil fields of West Texas. Despite the troubled economy the business did well and in 1935 Carl, along with his brothers Woody and Ed, bought a Ford Dealership on Texas Boulevard in Odessa, Texas. The dealership grew quickly, and the brothers sold out their entire inventory on multiple occasions. The demand for Ford cars continued to grow until the dealership remained open 24-hours a day.
The war years brought about major changes to car dealerships across the country. Ford stopped making new cars to support the war effort by building tanks and aircraft, which left Ford dealerships across the country, including the Sewell’s, nothing new to sell. To survive, the dealership turned to selling used cars and servicing and maintaining the vehicles they’d already sold.
In 1966, Sewell Ford moved to its current location on East 8 Street in Odessa. The dealership continued to be a family-run affair as successive generations of Sewells continued E.F.’s legacy of innovation and Carl Sr.’s dedication to turning customers into repeat customers. Sewell Ford even became the first Ford dealer in the country with an 800 number dedicated to selling wholesale parts. In 1989, Sewell became one of the nation’s first Lexus dealers. Carl Sr.’s son, Carl Jr., became a best selling author with his book, “Customers for Life,” which was released in 1990.
Today, the Sewell family of companies is firmly established as an American success story. Collin Sewell continues the Sewell family’s tradition as company president and has continued to push the company forward.
“In 2006 Collin saw an opportunity to provide people of our community with a better service experience. The Sewell Ford Service Department is primarily a repair facility and he felt that we could better care for our quick service guest with a quick lube facility,” said Abraham Acosta, team leader of the dealership’s oil change, The Great Texas Oil Change (GTOC).
Today, the Sewell family of companies includes over a dozen dealerships with brands like Toyota, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Infiniti, Audi and more spread out all across Texas. The Odessa Ford Lincoln dealer also includes a buy-here-pay-here used car lot called, Rockin’ S Accessories in addition to their GTOC location.
“We are able to service all makes and models which has allowed us to reach people outside of our normal dealership guests,” said Acosta. “We’ve created relationships with people we may have otherwise missed.”
GTOC offers customers a diverse menu of services in addition to oil changes including, state inspections, various fluid flushes, tire rotations and more. The shop has increased Sewell Ford’s access to clientele. Their goal is to service clients’ vehicles quickly and get them back on the road with minimum hassle.
Acosta and assistant leader, Gayla Sanders head a dedicated team of service professionals who adhere to high standards and the rich heritage of the Sewell name. To date, the quick lube branch of Sewell Ford Lincoln has served over 100,000 customers. The shop has a well-appointed lounge to give customers a comfortable experience while waiting for technicians to finish servicing their vehicle. GTOC can handle large commercial fleet accounts and even offers courtesy delivery to homes and businesses. The lube shop has been good for the dealership too.
“Our ability to build relationships with non-dealership customers has given us the opportunity to introduce them to our service, parts and sales departments,” said Acosta.
Having been in operation for over 100 years, the Sewell family of companies must be doing something right. The family-owned company’s foray into the quick lube world is just another natural extension of E.F. Sewell’s original service focused vision for the business. Acosta and the rest of the GTOC crew share the Sewell vision for excellence with friendly, high-quality, quick-lube services. GTOC continues the Sewell family tradition of giving customers a reason to come back again and again.