Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Cherry Hill Autos tops again, credits 'family' of workers

Cherry Hill Auto employees Barry Durkin, Marty Meyer, Charles Dromgoole and Keith Tornetta in the body shop. (COLIN KERRIGAN / Philly.com)
Cherry Hill Auto employees Barry Durkin, Marty Meyer, Charles Dromgoole and Keith Tornetta in the body shop. (COLIN KERRIGAN / Philly.com)
Story Highlights
  • Cherry Hill Autos is the top workplace winner for a small company in the Philadelphia region for the second year in a row.
  • Employees at the South Jersey car dealership believe that going to work every day is more than just a job.
  • For them, it's being with their second family and many credit their boss, Judith Krupnick, the company's president, with fostering that feeling.
Cherry Hill Auto employees Barry Durkin, Marty Meyer, Charles Dromgoole and Keith Tornetta in the body shop. (COLIN KERRIGAN / Philly.com) Gallery: Top Workplace: Cherry Hill Volvo

One family. One team. One community. These are just some of the ways employees at Cherry Hill Autos describe their work environment.

It's also why the full-service Volvo retailer is the top workplace winner for a small company in the Philadelphia region for the second year in a row.

Employees at the South Jersey car dealership believe that going to work every day is more than just a job. For them, it's being with their second family. Many credit their boss, Judith Krupnick, the company's president, with fostering that feeling.

"She touches every person that works here," said Yosef Cohen, a general sales manager. "She knows everyone's families, kids. She's involved and likes to help; that's impressive. That's what makes it unique to work here."

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  • Krupnick, who inherited the 51-year-old company from her father, David Krupnick, after he passed away in 2005, is not your typical boss. Employees said she can sometimes be seen washing cars, and chipping in with other duties in every department whenever needed.

    Her door is always open, and she routinely checks in with all her employees, which some workers said they appreciate the most.

    "Top management appreciates my effort and makes me feel as a trusted member of the decision-making process," one respondent wrote when surveyed by WorkplaceDynamics, which conducts the annual survey. "I work hard, I treat other employees with respect, and I take ownership of my position."

    Krupnick said she this work dynamic exists because she empowers her employees and they all respond collaboratively.

    "Everyone's involved with every other department because we rule together," Krupnick said. "I don't make any decisions unilaterally, everyone has input. It's a team."

    The 68 employees at Cherry Hill Autos get along so well because they go above and beyond the typical duties that go along with their job titles.

    "Everybody helps everybody," said Bruce Diller, a technician at the company. "When somebody's in need of something, everybody's there to help out. Whether it's service parts, sales department, everyone is always chipping in and helping out."

    Diller, who has been with the company for five years, recalls several times where teamwork really paid off.  

    "There were a couple of times where sales needed a car done or an accessory installed, and the body shop came out, helped paint the part that needed to be painted, and got it done," he said. "Everybody teamed up."

    Others appreciate the opportunities for advancement provided by the local car dealership.

    One respondent said coming to work was a joy "because of all the opportunities afforded to me as well as the learning experience over the years."

    Kellon Poole started out as a lot attendant washing cars and is now a service adviser at the company. He has had four promotions in his six years at Cherry Hill Autos, where he said he never expected he'd get to his current position so quickly.

    "Even though the economy has been up and down, I'm thankful they still gave me all the opportunity to move up in the industry," Poole said. "I was lucky enough to keep my job and move up."

    Celebrations all year round

    Asked why she believes the company won two years in a row, Krupnick quipped, "because we eat very well."

    Employees are treated to meals a couple times a month by Krupnick, who said it's just another way to show her appreciation.

    From sandwiches, to pizzas, pretzels and more, she already has a calendar planned out for catered food to come to the dealership twice each month for the whole year. Also in the middle of each month, one day is spent celebrating that month's birthdays with cake.

    "I do it because I think it's right," Krupnick said. "They are the people. They are Cherry Hill Volvo. It's just a good group, it's a good team. It's my way of saying thank you."

    Still has that 'mom and pop shop' feel

    Since Krupnick's father first opened the shop in 1962, she said not much has changed. She even sits in the same office he did for more than 40 years.

    "I'd like to say we're like that little corner grocery store, that little corner hardware store, where a lot of that doesn't exist today," she said.

    Not surprisingly, the company won this year's ethics award in the annual survey of Top Workplaces. Employees responded that the company operates by strong values and ethics.

    That creates a small-town feel to the dealership, which services Cherry Hill residents and beyond. Many customers come back to get work done on their cars at the auto shop years after the purchase.

    Some employees get to know many of the long-time customers, and some of those relationships span several decades.

    "We had an employee who just retired, who's known me since I was 16," said Krupnick, now 64. "And we have a lot of people who have never worked any place else in their lives."

    Making a difference in the community

    Cherry Hill Autos not only does right by its employees and customers, but the community as well. The township even dubbed a "Cherry Hill Volvo Day" in honor of the dealership's involvement in the community. It sponsors many local events and organizations, such as the local youth basketball and softball teams, a Jewish film festival, and a 5K run.

    During the holidays, the company has a toys for tots drive, and collects food for local food banks.

    "We're always doing something [for the community]," Krupnick said.

    Producer Lauren Mennen writes for the Health and Jobs channels on Philly.com.

    Lauren Mennen Philly.com staff
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