Hanson Motors: Giving Back to the Community


Hanson Motors has been serving Olympia and Thurston County since 1974, when current General Manager Vince Hanson’s father Steve opened his Volkswagen dealership.

Thirty-seven successful years later, Hanson Motors now offers Subaru and KIA vehicles alongside Volkswagen, as well as an array of pre-owned vehicles in a variety of makes and models.

Steve Hanson retired in 2005, but remains a fixture at the Olympia Auto Mall store in southwest Olympia. “He comes in every day and gets his mail and steals my coffee,” Vince Hanson says with a laugh.

Hanson Motors employs 60 full-time workers and strives to keep employee turnover low – a challenge in the often high-turnover automotive dealership industry.

“I have tons of employees who have been with me for 10, 15 years,” says Vince. “And I think that’s important. If you bought a car [from us] and had a good experience, you’re probably looking for the same people you know from the past when you buy your next vehicle.”

Giving back to the community is also imperative to Vince and the Hanson Motors team. They’re big supporters of Senior Services for South Sound, a private, non-profit corporation governed by a volunteer board of directors.

“My feeling is that seniors have given so much over their lives,” says Vince. “And there are so many good charities out there, but sometimes I feel like the seniors are the forgotten ones.”

Senior Services for South Sound helps those elderly who have financial difficulties, need food, or need transportation to and from places. They also run the Senior Center in downtown Olympia. “They help the elderly folks who are just lonely and need to get together with other people,” Vince explains. “At the Senior Center, they’re socializing and getting a good meal.”

Hanson Motors holds a pre-Thanksgiving food drive every year to benefit Senior Services for South Sound’s “Meals on Wheels” program.

“We’re just trying to give back, to be sure that seniors who can’t cook for themselves or drive to the grocery store get what they should be getting, food-wise,” says Vince. “Because otherwise they just go without.”

“The owners and staff at Hanson Motors have such a heart for the seniors in our community,” says Eileen McKenzie Sullivan, Executive Director of Senior Services for South Sound.

“They gifted us with a minivan when our cargo van died. Without a van, we’d have a hard time picking up donated food items that go to help our elders,” she says. “They’re an incredibly generous group.”

Hanson Motors does what it can to help area seniors, but also wants to be there for every customer who comes through the door – to help them find the right car. “Thurston County is just not that big of an area, so if you don’t take care of people, you’re not going to be in business for any length of time,” Vince says.

One of the things that set Hanson Motors apart from other area dealerships, according to Vince, is the range of the three new car lines they offer. “We don’t just cater to one audience,” he says. “We have everything from a new car starting at $11,000 or $12,000 to one that starts at $60,000. We can bridge the gap for most people.”

Vince’s favorite thing about coming to work every day is meeting customers. “It’s always a rewarding experience to talk to them and learn about their lives – who they are, where they’re from,” he says.

And Vince knows his dealership is fortunate to have a very loyal customer base, who always returns to Hanson Motors when shopping for a new car. “That speaks a lot, also, to the cars we sell,” he says. “They have high owner retention.”

But another thing keeping customers coming back is the positive experience they enjoy at Hanson Motors.

“When you buy a car from Hanson Motors and have a good experience, I want you to convey that to your friends – because it can certainly work the other way,” he says with a laugh. “If you had a bad experience, I know you’d convey that to your friends.”

Hanson Motors

2300 Carriage Loop SW

Olympia, WA 98502



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