Our Friends at Hoo Motors!

Hoo Motors has advertised with the
Prairie Times since 1992 so when we stop in to do this interview the crew is delighted to see us. First, we have a chat with Dave Ehmann. He tells us, “I started this business in Kiowa in 1990. Before that, I sold cars in Denver. It was a pretty good change to only have to drive to Denver a couple of days a week instead of every day.”


When we ask how the business got its name, he laughs. “In my twenties, I bought a racehorse named Shawnee Hoo. He won a decent amount in two summers and gave us some of the starter money to get into the business.”


Dave says the biggest change in the car business is inflation. “When I started selling cars in 1971, a regular cab Ford pickup with a 6 cylinder motor was $1717 with a $210 delivery fee. That truck cost the dealer about $1900. The same sized pickup now costs ten times as much. You can’t buy it for less than $20,000. The technology has changed, too. Now, they manufacture cars that you and I can’t work on. It takes high tech machines and mechanics to fix them.”


He leans back in his chair. “The way we sell cars is a lot different, too. Years ago the attitude of dealers was tell ‘em anything you want to, just get ‘em to buy. I’ve never had that philosophy. The internet is also making a difference, allowing us to reach a wider customer base. We’ve shipped cars to California, Texas, even Canada through online sales.”


When we ask what sets Hoo Motors apart, Dave says, “Big dealers have to make a lot of money just to match their overhead. We don’t owe anything on our building and our overhead is low, helping us to keep prices low. Our business is designed to make people satisfied with their purchase, and get them to come back, and bring their neighbor or their kids when they need a car. We try to make it an easy experience.”


Outside of Hoo Motors, Dave runs racehorses, cattle, does a bit of farming, and puts up hay. He smiles as he says, “I own the original homestead of my granddad’s from 1887. We’ve got deep roots here and have stayed close to home.”

Next, we stop in to see his wife, Linda, and ask where they met. She laughs and says, “In grade school! His little sister was one of my best friends. When I was 13, my folks let him take me on a group date to dinner. We got married when I was seventeen. Dave got a job offer when I wrecked our new truck and we had to go to the dealer for a new one!”


Linda is the secretary and treasurer. She does paperwork, title work, payroll, and accounting. She’s only in the office a couple days a week. The rest of the time she’s on the road getting cars. She says the biggest change in her job since they started is, “Paperwork used to be a handshake, sign here, and we were done. Title work was fairly simple. You have to be up on so many more rules and regulations now. One deal now has ten pages of paperwork in it instead of one or two. It’s hard to even get a title. Everything takes forever.”

When she’s not at work, Linda loves to volunteer and cook. Her eyes sparkle as she says, “I taught my grandson how to make a pie and he got Grand Champion Overall at the state fair. It was a caramel apple pie.”


Moving into the second office, we chat with Will White. He’s known Linda and Dave since he was 4 years old! “Dave and I used to rope together. I helped him at the lot and out at the ranch.”


When asked what sets Hoo Motors apart from other dealerships, he says, “The quality of vehicles we have, for one. We’re not high pressure. We stand behind what we sell and we do what we say we will. We make the process easy. We can have people in and out in a short time. We don’t have extra charges. We keep it simple. If you start with a quality vehicle, you don’t have to talk anyone into buying something that’s not worth it.”


Intrigued, we ask what the most important thing to a customer is. Will doesn’t hesitate. “Believing and being able to trust who they’re talking to,” he says. “Knowing that they are buying a quality vehicle and not something that’s been fixed or had the problems covered up. Everybody out here commutes a long ways. They need something that has low miles and is going to last them a long time.”


Will’s outside interests include hunting and riding 4-Wheelers. He likes being in the woods or in a tree stand in Kansas hunting deer. When asked what his favorite gun is, he thinks a minute and says, “My 12 gauge Browning Shotgun, semi-auto.”


“But you haven’t gotten a lot of free time lately, have you?”


He grins. “Nope! My wife Katie and I just had a baby June 18, We’re blessed with a healthy little baby girl. She was five weeks early but arrived just fine. We got lucky! Maddie is keeping us busy for sure.”


Our conversation turns to his family. He says, “I grew up north of Kiowa six miles, my wife and I just moved back to Kiowa recently. We want to eventually get a place outside of town and raise Show Pigs.” He grins. “That’s our other hobby to be!”


Visit Hoo Motors the next time you need a quality vehicle.