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Friendly Ford still going strong after 48 years

The year was 1970, and Decatur Boulevard was on the western edge of Las Vegas. Ed Olliges was eager to open the dealership, and the address of 660 N. Decatur Blvd. seemed like the ideal location for Friendly Ford.

And after celebrating the dealership’s 48th anniversary April 6 with many of his friends, including former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, it’s evident that Olliges foresaw the growth of Southern Nevada. The proximity of U.S. Highway 95 was appealing for business. Now, nearly five decades later, Friendly Ford remains.

Olliges, who recalled the early days of Friendly Ford, turns 85 in June.

“The dealership and the people have made it what it is today,” Olliges said. “When we built Friendly Ford, the area was largely vacant. The dealership is special to me, and we’re grateful for what we have. I still remember hiring people to work for us before we had the building complete.”

Friendly Ford has several employees who have been with the dealership for many years. Among the longtime employees are parts director Rob Mancini and service director Greg Haase, who have each been with Friendly Ford for more than 40 years, along with customer care coordinator Geri Bich, who has been with the dealerships for 18 years.

“In April of 1977, I walked across the street from Western High School to Friendly Ford and asked the parts manager for a job,” Mancini said. “A friend had recommended me, and I got the job.”

Mancini was delighted with his new employment. “I was a 15-year-old car-crazy kid,” he said. “I could not have found a better place to work. Forty-one years later, I still can’t find a better place to work. I truly love the car business and all the people I have had the pleasure of working with. Thank you, Mr. O and the Olliges family for the opportunity to live my dream — and congratulations on 48 fabulous years.”

Olliges’ daughter, Dana, was born the year Friendly Ford opened.

“My dad absolutely loves his job and still goes to work every day,” Dana said. “He always taught me growing up that, no matter what job you have, you should love it. His love for his business sure shows after 48 years. He is thankful for all his customers and his wonderful employees. He thanks all of them for his success.”

Also at the dealership for the gathering was Edgar Gutierrez of Ford Credit.

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