Homewood still has a Ford dealership, but after 91 years and the record as the village's longest running continuous business, Van Drunen Ford, at 3233 183rd St., has a new owner.
On June 24, the business on one of the village's major thoroughfares changed hands and changed names. Today it is Ford of Homewood.
Current owner Steve Phillipos, a Chicago native who also owns Chevrolet of Homewood, said he was inspired to buy the business because he wanted another dealership in the area which is filled with “wonderful people, great expressways and great community."
“I think it will have a great impact on the community,” said Phillipos, who has been in the dealership business for 35 years. “We’re a volume store, we’re going to sell more cars, which is good for the tax base and helps the community.
“Just in the last few weeks, you drive by here and there are a lot more cars than there were before,” he continued. “It was a family operation, which was wonderful, but we’re a volume dealership. We sell for less but we sell more.”
Many of the things Phillipos’ Chevy dealership is known for will spill over into the Ford dealership, he said. Chevrolet of Homewood has been in business for more than a decade and has a history of community service and pursuing charitable causes. The dealership has given away free new cars, hosted car shows and barbecues for the troops.
“We sponsor schools, we sponsor children, we do things for kids going back to school, we do fundraisers for our car shows, we do a lot,” he said.
Owning both dealerships means Phillipos and his team will tailor their marketing efforts to different buyers because “a Ford buyer and a Chevrolet buyer are different,” he said.
“You look at a Chevrolet truck and I think it's fantastic, and you look at a Ford truck it's fantastic but for different customers,” he explained. “Very rarely do you see a guy buy Fords and Chevys.”
He said he appreciates the local communities “that have been so good to us” at the two dealerships. Ford of Homewood and Chevrolet of Homewood will work “to make them proud,” he said.