A symbol of recovery and loyalty in New Orleans East
Written by Sarah Ravits
When Banner Chevrolet opened in New Orleans East in 1974, its ambitious mission was to be No. 1 in customer satisfaction, service and sales. Since its inception, the company is successful in meeting its goals and has exceeded them in many ways. With a full inventory of new and used cars, trucks and SUV’s, Banner also offers diverse services, automobile parts and has an in-house body shop for repairs and maintenance. Banner is also a hallmark of the community and a symbol of recovery and growth in the New Orleans region.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, the business also proved to be a source of inspiration and tenacity, representing New Orleans’ — particularly New Orleans East’s— ongoing recovery.
The car dealership is a constant reminder to its community about the value of work ethic and loyalty to the area.
Richard Flick, president and co-owner of Banner Chevrolet, is a fourth-generation New Orleanian and a second-generation automobile dealer. He has worked for the company since 1976 — just two years after his father purchased the dealership from the previous owners.
“We kept the dealership [in The East] because it is conveniently located between the Downman Road and Chef Menteur exits off Interstate 10,” he says. Banner Chevrolet also appeals to clients who aren’t from the area. It draws in a range of new and established customers, whom Flick praises for being diverse and loyal. Customers come from the surrounding parishes of Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. Bernard, Tangipahoa and other cities including Baton Rouge and Houma. Some even drive in from Mississippi.
As president, Flick works closely with co-owners Kelley Moreau, Leanne Cvitanovich and Marshall Soullier to foster a positive, nurturing work environment to the company’s 95 employees. (The company also has a Ford dealership north of Lake Pontchartrain in Mandeville.)
Flick believes that Banner Chevrolet fosters a “fun and extremely competitive” work atmosphere. “The day flies by because of the intense activity,” he notes.
It also helps that he is extremely passionate about the industry, his clients and providing people with new vehicles. “I love automobiles,” he says. “There’s nothing like the smell of a new car.”
Flick reiterates that Banner Chevrolet is more than just a car dealership, though. It’s of special significance that “we were the first business to open up after Hurricane Katrina in the East,” he says. “Our lights were like a beacon of hope that lit up skies that would have otherwise been dark.”
Flick is also proud of the fact that Banner gives back to the community by supporting local youth programs, schools and a variety of local charities.
Since the Banner staff first reopened their doors, other businesses have followed suit. The area is once again experiencing growth in population, which requires local businesses to service them.
“Every year we see more and more people moving back to the East,” notes Flick. “The growth has been steady and seems to be picking up speed.” New businesses, he says, appear to be opening up almost daily.
5950 Chef Menteur Highway
New Orleans, La. 70126