Omaha-based Baxter Auto Group has been selling cars, trucks and vans for 61 years – and giving back every step of the way.
“From education and the arts to poverty and breast cancer, we are proud to support the communities that have supported Baxter for so long,” said Baxter co-owner Mickey Anderson. “We’re entrenched in so many community needs. And all of us here at Baxter come from the communities in which we operate (so) we’re very close to those needs.”
Anderson and his sister, Angie Quinn, run the family-owned, homegrown business. They took over after their father, Talton “Tal” Anderson, died in 2009. Tal Anderson’s start in auto sales dated back to 1957 when he pumped gas part time at Johnny Baxter’s car dealership and gas station.
By Baxter’s retirement in 1984, Tal Anderson had owned part of the business; he contracted to purchase the remaining stake, kept the Baxter name and began expanding.
Today the company operates 20 dealerships in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado and dedicates resources to nonprofits in all three states every year in an effort to build stronger communities.
When Baxter opened two dealerships in Lincoln, volunteers drove cars to the new locations, and Baxter donated $10 per driver to the Team Jack Foundation. The event raised $5,000 for the organization, which supports pediatric brain cancer research.
Baxter also has participated in American Red Cross blood drives; partnered with the Avenue Scholars Foundation to help prepare students for highly skilled jobs; raised money for children who are deaf or hard of hearing; supported the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation’s Light the Night annual event; and more.
Quinn said giving back is just something everyone at Baxter feels they have to do.
“Supporting our communities is part of Baxter’s DNA,” she said. “Our founder did it, and we will continue to uphold that tradition as long as we are in business.”
Added Quinn: “But supporting our communities is not an exercise in helping the company grow and thrive. It’s more of an expression of gratitude.”
From stores in the Omaha area, Lincoln, Kansas City and Colorado Springs, Baxter offers 14 brands including Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Ford, Honda, INFINITI, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen. The dealership group also has three body and repair shops and employs 1,900 people, including 1,400 in Nebraska.
“We consider Baxter very fortunate to have so many employees so highly engaged in our communities. And while we can always do a better job empowering our employees, we encourage them to pursue their charitable interests and to serve on those organizations’ boards,” Quinn said.
Baxter Auto Group has a bright year ahead. The company is building a new corporate headquarters northwest of 168th Street and West Dodge Road, near three new dealership locations. The new four-story home base, scheduled to be finished later this year, will unify marketing, technology, human resources and other support team members who are currently working in multiple dealerships.
Anderson said he is also working on a few community initiatives, “all of which are sure to make exciting progress in 2019.”
“One of the things we’re most excited to see start in 2019 is the construction of Metro Community College’s new Automotive Technology Center, on its South Campus,” Anderson said. “Metro has been a Baxter partner for many years so we’re thrilled to support this new project, which is sure to provide students valuable training that will serve them for the rest of their lives. We certainly look forward to hiring some of those graduates.”