Mitsubishi Motors is celebrating dealer partners who go above and beyond for their communities. They provide more than just a great place to buy a car – they help their home towns thrive in the good times and heal in the challenging times. They rise to the occasion in support of the community, whatever the occasion may be. This month, we are proud to feature Richard Herod III, owner and general manager of White Bear Mitsubishi in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
Richard Herod III
Owner and General Manager, White Bear Mitsubishi
1. You were recently honored by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as a “Business of Pride.” What does this award mean to you?
I am honored to be recognized by the Twin Cities business community for my work in the LGBTQ+ community. I have always dreamed of being a pillar in the business community, like my grandfather was before me, while still living as my true self. Today, I am realizing that dream. I am also proud to have received Lavender Magazine’s 2019 Community Leader Award, the Human Rights Campaign’s Brian Coyle Leadership Award, their highest honor, and Twin Cities Pride’s 2019 Corporate Champion of Pride.
2. As a major advocate for LGBTQ rights in the Twin Cities area, what are some of your most important milestones for giving back to the community?
I was first moved to public action when the state of Minnesota proposed an amendment to ban same-sex marriage. It was a personal affront, and it was extremely motiving. I put up a yard sign with the rallying cry “Vote No” on it, but my home-owner’s association immediately ordered me to take it down. So, I pivoted. I created a custom “Vote No” decal for my Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and left it parked in my driveway. After posting the picture on Facebook, I started receiving requests for decals from across the state. We went to bat in a grass-roots, local way, and we won. Today, because of that action, I am engaged to the most wonderful man I have ever met. I cannot wait for us to be married and to start a family of our own!
3. Why is it so important for you as a local, small business owner to give back to the community?
Without community, we are nobody. I grew up in a very low-income situation. If it were not for the kindness of community, I would not have had a Christmas the year my father was laid off. That year, my brother and I both got – get this – a big white bear under the tree. (They were called Santa Bears.) That bear has become such an important part of my life. More than just the name of the city in which our dealership operates, it is a constant reminder of where I came from and the commitment that I owe my community.
4. In the era of COVID-19, how are you pivoting to make sure your business emerges stronger than ever?
We are doing everything we can to keep our employees and our customers safe. We are listening, learning and adapting. We are offering complimentary masks to make everyone comfortable. We are social distancing, instituting new cleaning policies and procedures, and we are deploying contactless home delivery and low-contact test drives. One adjustment we have made on the service side is, when customers bring in their vehicles, their keys are immediately put into plastic bags. We never touch customer keys. We are disinfecting steering wheels and high-touch surfaces. We are working to show customers that we care about their business, yes, but our priority is earning their trust.
5. If you could go back in time, and give yourself at age 18 one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would have invested in ROTH IRAs like my granddad suggested. Haha! But seriously, I was a starry-eyed kid who always wanted to be a car dealer. I am so fortunate for the opportunity my business partner David Roen gave me and for the values of the Rydell Company. There were bumps on my path, but it led me to where I am today. I would not change a thing.
SOURCE: Mitsubishi Motors