September 11, 2013
Don Sherwood, Dealer Principal of Sherwood Freightliner, Sterling & Western Star, has been named the 2014 Pennsylvania Truck Dealer of the Year.
Sherwood operates truck dealerships in Dunmore and Tunkhannock, Penn., and a third location is planned for the junction of I-80 and I-81 in Luzerne County, Penn.
Sherwood’s career in sales began after discharge from the U.S. Army. He purchased Sherwood Chevrolet in Tunkhannock from his father, Walter, and became the second youngest dealer principal in the country at 26 years old.
The store also sold General Motors’ heavy duty trucks Titan, Bruin and Bison Chevrolets.
“Chevrolet made some pretty good trucks, and with the logging equipment business and milk hauling business in the region, we started selling some heavy-duty Chevys,” Sherwood recalls.
After Chevrolet discontinued its heavy duty line, Sherwood acquired a franchise from Western Star Trucks in Kelowona, B.C., Canada in 1985.
In 2002 Don reached an agreement to purchase the corporate-owned store, Keystone Freightliner, in Dunmore. Daimler also assigned him Sterling and Western Star.
Real estate was purchased in 2012 for a third location along I-80, Exit 256, in Luzerne County. The large parcel will be next to the Pilot Truck Stop and have more than 1,200 feet of interstate road frontage. The new location will be a full-service dealership including parts, service, warranty, and sales. Trained certified technicians will be qualified to perform any warranty repair, including CNG engines.
In addition to Freightliner, Sterling, & Western Star, Sherwood also owns or partners in Sherwood Isuzu Trucks; Sherwood Chevrolet, Buick & GMC; Sherwood-Groves Ford, Buick & GMC; Horlacher & Sherwood Goodyear Tire; The Skidder Shop and two Comfort Inns.
Don and his wife, Carol, have three daughters, Jesse, Dana, and Maria, a son-in-law Bill Lawrence, and a granddaughter, Olivia. Maria serves as Sherwood’s Finance and Insurance manager, and is a key manager at the dealership.
Family is at the center of Sherwood’s business empire, and that includes his employees – his extended family.
“We have some very good long-term employees,” he says. “The secret to being a success in business is to instill in employees that you always under-promise and over-deliver with customers, and to have your employees work in an environment where they’re a family and they believe it’s a good place to work.”
Sherwood’s recipe for success clearly works. He says 70 percent of the employees at his Freightliner store have been there since it opened 10 years ago. One employee has been with the company for 42 years and several others for 30 and 20 years.
And for all that dedication and hard work, Sherwood readily shares the accolades with his employees.
“Everybody at the dealership is proud to receive that award,” he says. “The reason I was able to accept the award is because I had good business partners and good employees.”
Sherwood also spent 1999-2006 as Pennsylvania’s 10th District Congressional Representative, where he relied heavily on his staff to run his business while he tended to state affairs.
“That improved delegation skills, that’s for sure,” he says. “Because I wasn’t around as much.”