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Sault business community says goodbye to a pioneer

World Car dealerships lose owner John Dick in January

Amidst all the chaos of another January spent under COVID lockdown, the news that the Sault Ste. Marie business community lost one of its most respected members slid quietly under the radar.

On January 24th, 2022, word came of the passing of John Dick, patriarch of the Dick family owned-and-operated World Car Hyundai and Kia dealerships. A passion for automotive mechanics and a commitment to providing customers with top notch service are two of the defining characteristics most associated with Dick, a German immigrant who came to Canada in 1958 as a teenager eager to pursue his passion for working in the automotive industry.

Long time Sault residents will no doubt remember Dick’s Garage, a two-bay operation opened by Dick in 1962. At that time there was no hint that his business would grow into one of the most successful multi-brand dealerships in the area; Dick was more concerned with servicing automobiles then selling them according to his family.

“His whole business was built on service. Service and taking care of people,” said his son Mark, who now runs the World Car Hyundai and World Car Kia dealerships. “He never sold a car for the first 15 or 20 years. He was a mechanic at heart, always quick to dig in and get his hands dirty to the day he died. He was never in a suit, always in a shop coat.”

Dick’s first foray into the sales side of the business began when he opened the BMW dealership in the late 60s. That shop at the corner of Capp Street and Black Road was where the elder Dick earned his reputation as both a top-notch mechanic and a service professional who always focused on his customers.

“He loved people, and always enjoyed it when people would come into the shop to sit and talk,” said Mark. “His other big thing was to treat all your employees and customers like family. He always said you have to take the time to listen. That was the big one.”

Dick was also a generous community advocate, sharing his good fortune through donations and sponsorships as well as offering up his shop for co-op students also eager to learn. Education was a strong personal pillar of success for Dick, who stayed on top of new automotive technology through constant training.

“He always said the day you stop learning you’re dead,” said Mark. “You learn every day, and he always came in every day. He was active until the last four weeks before he passed. When he first started he was working 20 hours a day to build the business. In the end he had slowed down to six or seven.”

Dick’s legacy is still very much alive in both local dealerships, including the stunning new 35,000 square foot Hyundai operation that had its opening delayed a year due to the pandemic. However, John says both dealerships are still focused on providing customers with exceptional service whether they’re coming in for mechanical repair or to buy a new vehicle.

“We run things the same way he did,” said Mark. “He started with just him alone and now we employ over 50 people. Our doors are always open and we pride ourselves on customer service.”

World Cars Hyundai is located at 300 South Market Street. Call them at 705 759-1133. World Cars Kia is located at 953 Truck Road. Call them at 705 759-1133.