Nine years ago, Rose Winter took over her late husband's Chevrolet and Honda dealership in Contra Costa County, CA.
This year, the California Motor Car Dealers Assn. (CMCDA) recognized her as a successful entrepreneur in conjunction with Women's History Month in March.
Of Hispanic ancestry, Winter is among 45 women in California operating dealerships.
“I know I am one of few women dealers in a male-dominated field and of a smaller number as a Hispanic female,” says the president of Winter Chevrolet & Honda. “There are challenges, but if you stick to your core values and are fortunate to hire good people who share those values, you can succeed.”
She started helping at her husband's Chevrolet dealership in 1994 to learn as much as she could about the day-to-day operations. Her husband had been a Chevrolet dealer since 1957 and a Honda dealer since 1970.
He died in 1996. His widow attended Chevrolet's Dealership Management Academy and became the dealership's principal.
In 2003, the dealership relocated to separate new facilities for both Chevrolet and Honda on nine acres in the Century Auto Mall.
Winter at first employed 33 people. Now her staff numbers 90.
“Today's women have more power and influence in the marketplace than ever before,” says CNCDA President Peter Welch. “Rose Winter is an excellent example of a good dealer that has broken through the glass ceiling of the automobile business by earning the trust and loyalty of her franchisors, employees and customers.”
Winter also has received honors from Telemundo/KSTS-TV and 16 Northern California Hispanic chambers of commerce.