About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view nwdodge's profile
    Posted December 12, 2012 by
    houston, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Christmas where you live

    Huge Holiday Light Display Drives Business and Community Spirit for Northwest Dodge in Houston


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Car dealerships historically spend a lot on advertising, but here's a modern spin:

    Mark Carruba, the marketing and community outreach director for Northwest Dodge in Houston, Texas, says dealership manager Jim Hatfield loves Christmas lights and wanted to give commuters and the surrounding community a show. He spent upwards of $100,000 on a synchronized light display for the dealership, which sits on a notoriously congested highway in northwest Houston. They've noticed that motorists have taken to pulling over on the side of the road to watch the full display. Some of the families come in and get pictures with Santa; most aren't there to buy cars, Carruba said. He uploaded this video to CNN iReport.

    'I always ask Jim, some of these things start to cost money. He goes, "We make enough money. I'm not worried about measuring how many came in. We sit here in the middle of a community, we come to work here, we eat here -- it's our job to give back."'
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    Since installing its huge holiday light display, which includes more than 70,000 lights programmed to music, Thanksgiving Week, Northwest Dodge has been inundated with traffic, proving that big signs work magic. The light bulb moment was ignited by a true love of the holidays and a desire to give back to the community and both are driving automotive sales.

    Northwest Dodge sits on a busy feeder road in a row of dealerships vying for attention and sales in a highly competitive automotive market. For years, the dealership has considered ways to do something for the community, but none as big and eye-popping as the holiday light display it installed on the top of the dealership with the help of internet lighting sensation Richard Holdman. With over 21 million YouTube views of his Amazing Grace light display, Richard Holdman is the king of holiday lights. His displays consist of tens of thousands of bulbs, computer programming, music and lots of holiday magic.

    “Since I was a kid, I have always loved Christmas lights,” said Northwest Dodge General Manager Jim Hatfield. "I saw one of Richard’s displays on YouTube and was simply amazed. So we hired Richard to create a display at the dealership to share his gift with Houston. This is the first year of what we hope is an annual tradition,” assured Hatfield.

    The results have been as dazzling as the lights themselves. Website traffic is up 15.39% over the previous month. “We’ve had more foot traffic than any other December on record,” explains Hatfield, but “most importantly we’ve had so many heart-felt comments from area businesses and people in the neighborhood about what a wonderful gift this is for Houston. As corny as it sounds, it makes everyone at the dealership proud that we can share a little holiday warmth in a year that for many has been anything but bright.”

    Yes, Virginia, in a Northwest Dodge dealership in Houston there is a Santa Claus and he is here Tuesday thru Saturday from 6pm to 9pm taking pictures with the kids and sending them a personal letter.
    Add your Story Add your Story