NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida – For Friendly Kia, sometimes a man’s best friend is also a dealership’s best friend.
Owner John Gilliss made his two West Highland White Terriers a staple in his advertisements and in his store in 1998, long before National Dog Day exploded onto social media.
It was a move based on advice from an advertising executive who said, “People trust people who have dogs,” Gilliss told Edmunds.
They also remember your business’ name, he said.
“It’s really tough to differentiate yourself in this business, but the dogs do help identify us,” Gilliss said. “People come in here and look for them.”
Recently he started having the dogs, Ellie and Gillie, become caricatures in animated commercials.
Many customers bring their own pooches into the dealership because of the dog-friendly vibe the dealership has created.
“It goes two ways because people who like dogs and have their own dogs tend to be great customers,” Gilliss said.
Edmunds says: Furry friends can make a friendly atmosphere even more friendly.