“The new broom sweeps the cleanest.”
— Arthur H. Kenny
The first car dealer I worked for beginning in September 1972 was Arthur H Kenny and when I became sales manager in January 1975, he first shared the above sentiment with me. I was the new broom.
He was a delightful Irish gentleman, and always had a smile and a laugh and seemed to know what he wanted and got what he wanted. Though I essentially worked for the General Manager and he was the owner, I’ll never forget him coming to the first sales meeting when I was the new manager and him speaking to the organization about his confidence in me in the position. It was the only time I recall him ever coming to a staff sales meeting.
He was so proud of his son who rose to the level of Bishop in the Catholic Church and he relished going to the installation ceremony at the Vatican. He was a smart and wise businessman who had many investments, mostly in property, many with influential partners. Many of these had substantial returns and he did well.
He was a leader and a good speaker. Before becoming a Chevrolet auto dealer with a partner in Vallejo, CA, he was a zone manager for Chevrolet Motor Division. He grew up in Calistoga CA and his family owned a hotel there for many years.
I can remember that often he had his door open and he would be working or on the phone with someone, as he was at the dealership often and regular. He found a General Manager who he could trust and let him run the store for the most part, but one always knew that Art was the man in charge.
One time we had a huge contest to sell 50 Chevy LUV trucks in a specified period and I had ordered enough to try to get that done and it was considerably more than we would have normally stocked. One day three truck loads came all at once and were unloading all those little LUV trucks. I was watching and Art came out to get in his car and said to me, “I sure hope you know what you’re doing!” Of course I did, and I also believe that from him that was a statement of encouragement because he said it with a smile. We sold 48 because we couldn’t get two more from anywhere, otherwise we would have hit the number.
I loved him, though I wouldn’t have said it that way back then, and I love the memory of him today. I’ve used that phrase that Art used above, but never liked it much. I’ve seen a lot of people abuse the idea of it. I think he got the phrase from an old Irish saying, “A new broom sweeps clean, but the old broom knows the corners.” I like that one so much better.
Loving You, Art! Thanks For The Memories!
Spread Some Joy Today–Remember someone today that gives you some joy. It doesn’t really matter if they are dead or alive. They are always alive in your mind.