Virden Ford is a longstanding automotive dealership at 173 King St. E, in the heart of Virden, owned and managed by Darin Banga.
A farm boy from Saskatchewan, Banga helped on his father’s farm. His dad also worked in the potash mine, but Darin decided that he wanted to do something different. As an 18-year-old, in November when the crop was off, he needed a job.
“Within a day or so I found that the local Ford dealer in Esterhazy was looking for someone to change oil. I went and talked to Mark Faul (the owner) and I got a job.”
It was great experience. There, Banga learned that he loved Ford and the automotive industry, and that he wanted to work with people. To fulfill that vision, he and a partner purchased Nield Brothers Ford.
It was January, 2007 when the Bangas settled down in Virden. “We were in our late 20s when we made the move,” he said. They made Virden their home and the community where they are raising daughter Alexa, 13, and son Liam, 10.
Banga’s belief in the business and in himself, his staff and the community has paid off.
He reflects on some 15 years with the Virden Ford, watching as business tripled. “When I came here, being young, I had to show people that I could do this. And run this place. Once they realized that I could, we started stocking more vehicles and ordering more and selling more and it just kind of snowballed from there … raising the bar, one step at a time.
“We talk a lot about the Virden Ford family… it’s a family atmosphere around here,” says Banga, stressing the importance of relationships. “We have good people here,” he says of his staff of about 20.
There are five service technicians including three Ford trained master technicians, and two others who are in their third- and fourth-year apprenticeships.
Banga says the three dealerships within Virden help each other. “If there was one big dealership in town, that one big dealership isn’t going to bring as many people to our town … but if people can drive through three car lots, or shop online at three car lots,” he says, “that’s very important, especially in a community our size.”
Belief in the community boils down to participation. “We’re heavily involved, whether it’s rodeo, the Oil Capitals organization, the daycares,” and other youth sports and recreation endeavors including the arts.
As well as showing up with a check, Banga personally likes the good feeling of volunteering. He also encourages staff to work with the community. “Some of my staff volunteer on local committees and non-profit things and I support them through that.”