'Work hard and stay focused ... you will reap success': Nigerian immigrant purchases Ford dealership
BRATTLEBORO — You gotta' have Faith. That's the slogan that Faith Mba has adopted for his new business, Faith's Ford, which recently opened at the former Brattleboro Ford dealership.
"The business is doing very, very well, and it's growing faster than we thought it would," said Mba. "All because the community has been so great."
Mba has gone out of his way to engage with the Brattleboro community by volunteering Faith's Ford as a United Way sponsor, and has been welcomed by the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce.
"The people are very friendly and very nice, and the community has been great," said Mba. "I've made sure that all of our employees are locals that live in Vermont or New Hampshire. We are still looking for more people because sales are so busy, and service is so busy that we need more mechanics."
Mba has created over 50 jobs in the community so far, and hopes to do more in the future.
"Hopefully we can grow the business, get a bigger place, get more dealerships, and continue to serve the community," said Mba. "Living in the area and owning a business, the whole community really becomes your family."
Expanding his business, however, is not the only way that Mba hopes to enrich the Brattleboro community.
"We want to encourage a lot of local kids to attend technical schools to help themselves, their families, and their community," said Mba. "Mechanics are very well paid, so getting into the auto industry is a great way to go. You don't have the huge debt [from student loans], and you can still make a decent hourly wage without needing a lot of education to do it."
A native of Delta, Nigeria, Mba was taught the art of the sale by his mother, a local businesswoman. In 2000, Mba left Nigeria to join an uncle in Holland, who procured him a position at an Enterprise rental company. It was here that Mba got his first lesson in customer service and public relations, all while developing his proficiency in both Dutch and German.
Faith was eventually promoted to manager before marrying and moving to the United States with his wife, a New Hampshire native.
Once in the United States, Mba eagerly accepted a job as a salesman at a nearby Kia and Ford dealership, which offered paid training. In 2007, Mba became a naturalized United States citizen.
Mba continued to work his way up, eventually working as finance director at Toyota and Ford in Greenfield, Mass. He later accepted a position as finance director at a car dealership in Boston, commuting 228 miles a day, before deciding to open his own business.
"America is a wonderful place, and if you work hard and stay focused you will reap success," said Mba. "You don't have to own a business, but you must have a good work ethic with whatever you do."
Cherise Madigan is regular contributor to the Reformer. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.