In the middle of a pandemic, a little signage humor strikes the right tone
There is that old saying “laughter is the best medicine” and, that adage is even more prevalent in a time of a global crisis.
To be clear there’s nothing funny about the pandemic and the path of destruction it has left in 2020. And if there was ever a time where a little humor could be injected to lift the spirits of Manitobans, it is well welcomed.
If you live in the small town of Oakbank, Manitoba, Canada, chances are you have seen one of the many humorous signs erected by Brad Bailey, a member of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Brad is a native Winnipegger who moved to Oakbank ten years ago when he couldn’t find a home that suited his needs and budget. It was never about finances as Brad had a very successful career in the automotive industry for two decades.
“Out in Oakbank, you get more value for your money and, the taxes are lower. Plus the commute into the city is less than 15 minutes.” Said, Brad Bailey
One day when he was walking throughout the neighbourhood, he saw a man putting up a For Lease sign on a vacant lot and instinctively stopped and said: “take that sign down, I want the space.” In that very moment, The Used Car Factory was formed.
Brad’s intention was not to start a business but figured he had decades of experience in the automotive industry and, he lives in a great community with great people, so why not?
When Brad first started erecting his signs, he would put a joke on one side and a bit of info about his vehicles on the other. He was always mindful of his message and was careful never to offend anyone or any organizations within the community.
As the pandemic prolonged, Brad noticed he was receiving a lot of positive feedback from the community about the messages on his sign. He knew if a message on one side could bring smiles to the community, it’s only natural that putting messages on both sides can double the smiles, therefore removing all content referring to advertisements.
We asked Brad why he chose to remove the advertisement he said: “We’ve had a good year and our community has supported us, and if I can put a smile on someone’s face in the wake up the pandemic, it’s worth it.”
Just by listening to Brad, you could tell he has a deep affinity for his community and fellow business owners. As a business person, Brad’s modestly overshadows the national recognition he has received for his used car dealership.
Not only does The Used Car Factory hold a perfect 5-star rating on Google, but they have also received an award for “Canada’s Best Priced Dealers” from AutoTrader. This award was presented to 12 out of a possible 1,500 auto dealerships in Manitoba in which they are one of only four independent owners.
What’s even more impressive about the award is that it was chosen by a computer-based solely on factual sales data. A computer determined that out of all the vehicles that sold within Manitoba, The Used Car Factory’s average vehicle sales were among the lowest in the Province, placing them in the top one percentile.
It’s quite the honour for a small-town dealership competing with the big National auto franchises.
Brad just like the rest of the world, remains optimistic 2021 will be a whole lot better and has a special message planned for the end of the year.