Schomp Stories: Ruth and Larry Nisbet

August 18th, 2016 by

BMW 3SeriesRuth and Larry Nisbet bought their first BMW back when BMW was not a “mainstream” brand. And, as 20-something teachers who by their own admission looked a little like hippies, they weren’t exactly “mainstream” car shoppers. It was 1976 and Ruth’s beloved Oldsmobile had died. Larry remembers finding her crying on the front doorstep over her broken-down car. “I loved that car. I was going to drive it until I died,” she says.

“We went out and looked…We looked at a lot of cars but I said, ‘I really like the BMW,’” Ruth says. They visited one dealer who wasn’t very helpful, according to Ruth. “That was back in the hippie days…boots and jeans…and so we walked in and I wanted to look at this car and they kind of looked at me like, ‘You don’t really belong here.’” Even worse, the salesman had to be convinced that it was Ruth and not Larry who would buy the car and he finally said outright, “Maybe you don’t belong here.”

“He said, in so many words…do you think you can afford this?  He didn’t know she saves her money,” Larry says.

“So I went to Schomp’s and I walked in and looked at the cars and I found this one I really liked.” The salesman asked how she wanted to finance it and she told him, “I’ll write a check.”  Ruth laughs gleefully as she remembers the moment. “It’s not what you look like, it’s what you have in your pocket. So I’ve been going back there (to Schomp BMW) ever since.” That car was a blue 2002.

After one service appointment fairly early on, a note appeared on Ruth’s bill: “The mechanic would like to see your husband.” Wary of another form of discrimination against a female owner, Ruth bridled and demanded to know why. The service writer didn’t know so finally Larry went back to see the mechanic, Greg Geist, “…who was probably in his early 20s. He’d been working all day and had grease all over and says, ‘Are you the Mr. Nisbet who teaches at South High School? … I just want you to know I’ve been working on your wife’s car. Maybe you don’t want me to work on it because you threw me out of school. By the way, it was the best thing anybody ever did for me!” Greg had been cutting class and Larry guesses he was the South High administrator who told him either to get serious about school or get out. Greg quit landed at Schomp BMW shagging cars, eventually trained as a mechanic and now is the shop foreman.

That was the beginning of a great friendship between Ruth and Larry Nisbet and Greg Geist. “From that day on, Greg was the only person who would work on that car, even as he progressed through the ranks…Obviously he now runs the shop and no longer does the mechanics, but he does make sure [Ruth’s car] is worked on right,” Larry says. She drove the car for 10 years.

Larry brags a bit about their cars. “Greg and other mechanics who have worked on them have written me notes because I keep them so clean…the engine and other parts. They appreciate it.” He grew up working on cars and even though he can’t do the work himself now because of new cars’ advanced technology, he still likes to keep their cars in pristine condition, and it makes a difference in how well they’ve lasted. After the 2002, there was a 3 Series and then a 5 Series, which she’s had now for 13 years, always in shades of blue.

The Nisbets have some stories about adventures in the BMWs. One particularly funny one involves a trip they took back to Ruth’s hometown in Nebraska. “In a small town they know when you flush the toilet … so when my BMW drove into town they knew I was in home. One time we were back there and this friend of ours wanted a BMW.” He wanted to drive the car and Larry agreed to go along with him. When they returned, Ruth’s friend enthused, “That car drives well in the cornfields. We didn’t miss a bump and it looks just great!”

The Nisbets have developed a whole network of friends at Schomp BMW. Larry worked with Lisa Schomp through the Englewood Schools Foundation and the Englewood Chamber of Commerce. They know Patricia Diesing, who has worked in the service area, because she once worked at Alpine Trophies, where the Englewood School District bought athletic trophies. “My service writer, Chris Adams was a student [at Englewood High School],” Ruth says. “He always takes good care of me.” Their daughter, Stephanie, also worked briefly at Schomp BMW and then, deciding that business wasn’t for her, became a teacher, too.

Now Ruth is retired and Larry consults part-time with school districts. Ruth is thinking about what features she wants on her next blue BMW, which will be purchased soon. She thinks perhaps heated rear seats, to make the ride nicer for their dog. She laughs when she recalls how surprised her fellow teachers were that she would drive a “luxury car.”  “I would always say it’s not the money you make, it’s what you do with your money that you make.”

The personal connection and the consistently good way they’ve been treated are what keep Ruth and Larry Nisbet coming back to Schomp BMW. “When I get my new one, it will be my fourth,” Ruth says. “All over somebody saying I didn’t have the money…Now, I like it when I drive in and the sign says, ‘Welcome Mrs. Nisbet…Ruth Nisbet.’ It’s the personal touch.

Posted in News