BY DEBRA KENT
The year 1915 was unusually eventful. It was the year Typhoid Mary contaminated her way to fame, the House of Representatives rejected women’s right to vote, Albert Einstein formulated his theory of general relativity, and Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run. It was also the year that a gentleman by the name of W.S. Curry sold his first automobile in Bloomington.
Today, Cary Curry represents the fourth generation to run the family business, Curry Auto Center. And he has seen some big advances since he started out as a part-time helper in high school. “The biggest change is information technology, which gives customers access to so much information,” he says. “We sell cars now over the Internet. And the new car announcements and unveiling of new products are days gone by. Most interested buyers find that information on the Internet—often before we’re informed by GM.”
One thing hasn’t changed, however, even in a bleak economy: “People will buy where they know they can get good service,” he says. “I may not always sell the make and model someone wants the most, but I’ve seen that become secondary to a dealership’s service reputation.”
The economic climate, especially in the past few years, has presented some daunting challenges to this Bloomington institution. “When the economy took a nose dive [in 2009] we had to make some sacrifices as a team, in hours, in pay. It was tough, but what evolved was a sense of community. The eighty employees here were already a type of family, but those bonds became stronger through these tough times,” Curry reflects. “But what always rises to the top in times of sacrifice are the blessings. We certainly aren’t back to where we were a few years ago, but many of the sacrifices have been lifted and the sense of caring and community remain strong.”
Looking back over his life, Curry admits to twice thinking about not continuing in the family business. The first time, he was starting at Indiana University and thought he might like to be a teacher. More recently, it occurred to him that he would enjoy the ministry. “However, through some soul searching I realized ministry isn’t limited to a church building or Sundays,” he says. “It should happen every day and in every situation. Hopefully, I emulate what I teach in my business life.”