A Chicago native who grew up in Iowa, Phil Winslow came to Colorado when his father purchased a Volkswagen/Porsche dealership in Colorado Springs. Just before he graduated from Cornell College in 1961, his father called to see if Phil was interested in joining him in the business. Two days after graduating, he was on the job.
Phil’s father died in 1964, making him the youngest VW dealer in America — with a steep learning curve. While his father had taught him about accounting, he spent a lot of free time with mechanics at the dealership, who taught him about cars. Then sales people and managers taught him how the dealership worked.
He married Ann, a Texas native, in 1976. Ann served as the executive director of the Colorado Springs Automobile Association and the Colorado Spring Executives Association. She brought her love of cars and her business skills into the dealership. Phil has often quipped that Ann is really the ‘car guy.’
In 1983, Phil bought a BMW franchise and operated both dealerships until he sold the Volkswagen store in 2003, as BMW had become the main part of his business. In addition, he owned and sold two motorcycle dealerships.
Service has always been key to his business success, as parts and service can support a dealership as it rides the ups and downs of the economy. Also, Phil feels that service is where relationships are cemented, as that’s where customers are addressed on a more personal, first-name basis. Through building and maintaining these strong, often personal relationships, Phil trusts customers will return to buy another car.
Phil recognizes the growing challenges from corporate dealers with cash, strong support and a deep well of talent. His plan is for one of their three sons to assume ownership one day, working with the dealership’s GM/partner. Phil and Ann are happy it will stay in the family and remain a force in Colorado Springs.
The Winslows have deep roots in their community. The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs College of Business bestowed on them a Lifetime Entrepreneurship Award. Phil has been a trustee of the State Colleges of Colorado and served on the Uniform Consumer Credit Code Board. The dealership supports the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Colorado Springs Conservatory, Children’s Literacy Center and several scholarship funds at UCCS, as well as many others.