Brimhall hails from a long line of auto dealers. His grandfather, Marsden G. Brimhall, became part owner of the Minnesota Motor Company in 1922 and started selling Chevrolets. His father and uncle, Richard and Bradford, took over in 1959, and today, Brimhall and his cousin Thomas own the dealership. Brimhall’s two sons, Matthew and Benjamin, are the next generation to enter the family enterprise.
“I began washing and detailing vehicles in high school, fell in love with the business and returned to the dealership after college as a car salesman,” he said, having earned an associate of arts degree from Fergus Falls Community College (now Minnesota State Community and Technical College) in 1972. “My strong people skills, competitive nature and my ability to form lasting customer relationships have made me successful.”
With such a rich legacy in the retail automotive industry in Minnesota, Brimhall was tapped to provide leadership and insights to the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association (MADA) where he has served on the group’s charitable foundation board since 2014, as well as holding the offices of chair, vice chair, treasurer and secretary for the organization.
“It has been a great learning experience working alongside our lobbyists, legislators, MADA staff and other dealers from Minnesota, which has also resulted in lifelong friendships,” he said.
Brimhall believes that business owners have a responsibility to give back to the community through involvement and monetary donations. “A strong community helps our business be strong,” he said. “When our employees donate their time and efforts to the community, it builds relationships and boosts vitality.”
He is proud of his work for the Fergus Area College Foundation, which supports the Fergus Falls campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State). “I chaired a capital campaign to which I donated and raised $750,000, which was matched by a state grant of $1.2 million,” Brimhall said. “Because of this funding, 53 new technical classes are being added to M State, which will help put much-needed technicians into the workforce.”
Other organizations he supports include Fergus Falls Area Chamber of Commerce; Business Development of Fergus Falls; Otter Tail Lakes Property Owners Association (promotes and protects area lakes); and Ducks Unlimited, to name a few. His company has also made generous donations to the Lake Region Healthcare's Cancer Care & Research Center (Fergus Falls); Fergus Falls Community Arena (hockey and skating venue); Fergus Falls Otters Football (new turf field) and the Fergus Falls Area Family YMCA.
Brimhall was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Scott Lambert, president of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Carol, have three children.