Dan Bechtold/Winner Advocate Photo
Tory Swedlund, right, is the new general manager and partner of Harry K Ford of Winner. Cody McKenzie, left, is the new service department manager and Shane Phillips, center, is the parts department manager and assistant service department manager.
By Dan Bechtold
Tory Swedlund has been in the car business for 19 years and he is bringing that experience and knowledge to his hometown of Winner.
Swedlund is the new general manager/partner at Harry K Ford in Winner.
The 1996 graduate of Winner High School has been actively involved in the car business and has worked in three states before returning home.
He worked in Omaha for 10 years where he started selling cars for five to six years followed by being a finance manager for two to three years. While in Omaha, he got into used car sales.
Swedlund was recruited to join the Berkshire Hathaway group which was previously known as the Van Tuyl Group.
“In the car businesss, if said you were a Van Tuyl guy that really meant something,” Swedlund explained.
He worked in Omaha for four years with this automotive group. Swedlund was the used car manager and then became the used car and new car director.
Seeing Swedlund’s work ethic, he was recruited to work in Tacoma, Wash. Swedlund, and two other former Van Tuyl employees took over a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge dealership in Washington. Prior to the trio taking over, the business was selling 70 cars a month and three years later they were selling 500 cars a month.
Swedlund was the general sales manager for this business.
He spent four years working in Washington.
The next step in Swedlund’s career took him to Oklahoma City, Okla. He met a man by the name of Joe Cooper at a Ford meeting and was recruited to move to Oklahoma. Swedlund spent five and half years working for Joe Cooper.
In 2016, Swedlund and Doug Knust of Chamberlain had a discussion about partnering on car dealerships.
Two years later the two men met at Al’s Oasis and talked for five hours coming up with a game plan for Swedlund managing the car dealership in Winner.
“I bring a different mentality to the car business. I want people to come back after they purchase a vehicle. I do not want to sell them one car and they never come back,” he said.
Swedlund’s motto at Harry K is Family, Friends and Ford.
“I never want that switched because family is so important to me and I want to be your friend before I sell you a vehicle.”
The general manager says he prices his cars competitively.
He says any type of car a person wants he can get for them. “I can get what they need and want,” he explained.
Sales have been good at Harry K. Swedlund noted they had a great month in August and were the top 10 in the region in Ford sales.
Swedlund is proud of the staff at Harry K.
Cody McKenzie is the new service manager and Shane Phillips is the parts manager and assistant service manager. “I have two of the most enthusiastic managers,” said Swedlund.
McKenzie has worked at Harry K for 20 years and started at the business in 1999.
He and his wife, LaCosta have three children—two that are out of high school and one in grade school plus they have a granddaughter. McKenzie says the best part of working at Harry K is the people. He enjoys the job because there is something new every day.
Phillips has worked at Harry K for six and a half years. He and his wife, Jenna, have three children—two boys and a girl. Phillips enjoys the people. He added it is fun every day at work.
Gina Day is the new finance person at Harry K.
Also making Harry K special is the body shop with Marty Herman and Rick Biggins. “The body shop is amazing,” said Swedlund.
The general manager explained that three times a day he takes the pulse of the staff to see how they are doing. He tells them to be the reason someone smiles today.
When talking about family, Swedlund says one things people forget is how important are the teachers who educate our children.
So, Swedlund has joined with the Winner Advocate to pick an educator of the month in the Winner School District at the elementary, middle school and high school level.
An independent board that has no children in school will make the selection. The public will be able to vote on line on the Winner Advocate and Harry K Facebook page and the Harry K website.
The winner each month will receive a $50 gift card from Harry K. At the end of the year, one teacher will be selected as teacher of the year and will receive a $1,000.
Swedlund says he plans to do the same thing for the Colome School District but on a smaller scale.
“It is important that we recognize their hard work,” said Swedlund.
Swedlund has a strong family connection in Tripp County. His mother is Marsha Hodge and his step father is Kelly Hodge. Tory’s father is the late Joel Swedlund.
His brother is Tresh Swedlund who owns South Central Livestock Supply.
Tory’s grandmothers are Claudine Swedlund of Winner and Lois Morganfield of Chamberlain.
Tory has three children. His son, Jaxon, age 13, lives in Omaha. His two daughters Dacey, age 5 and Ozzie Rhea, age 3, live with Tory in Winner.
“It was important for me to come here when I had the opportunity. I am glad to be here,” said Swedlund.