CITY OF BROOKFIELD - Family-owned businesses are often celebrated in today's day and age.
Well how about when that same family-owned business has been owned by the same family for 100 years?
That's the milestone Soerens Ford of Brookfield will achieve this Friday, May 19 when it celebrates a century of providing cars and service to its customers.
"We are the second-oldest continuous Ford dealership in the state of Wisconsin and the oldest family-owned Ford dealer in Milwaukee," Soerens Dealer Principal Stephanie Soerens-Borkowski said.
The dealership will provide lunch for all of its employees Friday and will also welcome long-term, loyal customers and staff for a private gathering Thursday night.
On May 19, 1917, Stephanie's great-grandfather Walter Soerens opened his Ford dealership in the city of Milwaukee.
In 1970, Stephanie's grandfather, Robert "Bud" Soerens, moved the dealership from its Milwaukee home at 27th Street and Capitol Drive to its current location in Brookfield.
"It was just for future growth and development of the city and so they moved out to Brookfield so that they could still stay local but also have more land to operate from," Soerens-Borkowski said.
After Walter and Bud, Stephanie now follows in the footsteps of her father Bob Soerens as the fourth-generation dealer principal of Soerens Ford.
"I grew up in Brookfield. I went to Brookfield Central, my oldest sister went to East and Central and my brother and I both went to Central," Soerens-Borkowski said.
Soerens Ford prides itself on being not only a local business, but an asset to the local community.
The dealership is strongly pushing its Random Acts of Niceness campaign. Last week Stephanie surprised and honored a Korean War veteran at Brookfield Square.
Soerens also has a strong relationship with the Elmbrook Education Foundation.
"Our family, my family, has always been about 'Support those who support you,'" Soerens-Borkowski said. "We're so grateful and know that this business wouldn't be as successful as it is without the community and the long-standing relationships that we've had with our customers. It's very important. It was to my dad and it is to me."
In addition to their celebrations this week, the dealership is also offering a number of service specials — such as discounted oil changes — throughout the year in order to celebrate their centennial.
Two years ago, the dealership's 98th anniversary was commemorated by a 20,000-square-foot expansion that included a new showroom and improvements to the service area.
With the expansion following in the vision of her grandfather, Soerens' fourth-generation leader is also confident that the business' growth will continue.
"We're looking towards hopefully continuing to be successful and continuing to grow as a company and an asset to the community," Soerens-Borkowski said.
Soerens Ford is located at 18900 W. Capitol Drive.