The Horrobins rolled into town back when someone could purchase a new car for about $4,000.
The vehicles on their lot, the price tags and the hairstyles all may look significantly different, but 40 years later, Oak Harbor Motors still stands on Southeast Pioneer Way.
To celebrate the anniversary of its 1979 opening, the dealership will be hosting a community event Sept. 20.
A lot has changed since since Mike and Cathy Horrobin decided to pack up and move to Oak Harbor from the Tri-Cities after purchasing what was then known as the Dodge Garage.
“It was all new, but we made a good choice,” Mike Horrobin said.
There were several other dealerships in the city at that time, but now the Oak Harbor establishment is the only one of its kind in Island County.
Mike and Cathy Horrobin credit their exceptional employees with their success over the years.
“They’re the reason we’re still here,” Mike Horrobin said.
Cathy Horrobin added it also has to do with how those employees treat the people who walk into their showroom or on their lot.
The family is hoping to provide extra special treatment Sept. 20 for its anniversary celebration. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. free lunch will be served, said Samantha Horrobin. At 4 p.m. there will be a ribbon cutting and cake. The Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce will also arrive around 4 to present a plaque commemorating 40 years of business.
There will be giveaways and a raffle going throughout the day, in which people could win a lube, oil and filter change for the 1979 price of $10.95 or a free detailing package.
Its Oak Harbor location added incentive to make sure its costumers receive the best possible experience, Cathy Horrobin said, because it’s likely she and other employees would run into those customers later at the grocery store or on the street. The family business has kept close ties to the community over the years, donating to events like the Oak Harbor Music Festival, Pigfest and the school district.
Cathy and Mike, who were high school sweethearts, had a young child when they moved to Oak Harbor and were looking for a smaller community in which to raise their family. They were drawn to the fact that the island had good schools and “no freeways.”
Mike grew up with motor oil in his blood. He worked for his father’s dealership before moving to the island and his uncle was also in the business.
However, the 40th celebration is not about selling cars, Mike Horrobin said.