Richard Cordes: A Drive To Excel
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter
SANTA ROSA — Since he was a teenager, Richard Cordes has exhibited a drive to excel, and four decades later, that drive has culminated in an uncommon level of achievement. “In high school, I received two years of auto training, in the course of which I earned my first industry certificates,” he remembers. “After graduating, I worked at a tire shop for about a year before getting hired at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Marin. I really enjoyed the challenge that Mercedes-Benzes provided, and during my seven years there, I received manufacturer training in advanced auto diagnostics and repair.” After spending an additional five years at a Santa Rosa-based Mercedes-Benz dealership, Richard decided to take things to the next level and opened his own shop in 1989.
Today, as owner of European Sales & Service, Richard says he takes pride in being Sonoma County’s premier independent Mercedes-Benz specialist. “When you only work on one brand of car, you get to know it really well over the years, which can make a big difference in terms of accuracy and workmanship. I’ve invested in all the pertinent training and equipment, so I feel confident in our ability to provide Mercedes-Benz owners with the highest quality service available.”
A resident of Santa Rosa (where he lives with his wife, Victoria), Richard expresses his appreciation for the diverse Sonoma County landscape. “As an avid cyclist, I really enjoy the terrain here,” he says. “Whether you want hills or flats, mountain trails or road trails, Sonoma County has it all.” Richard also enjoys keeping up with local sports, particularly professional basketball. “My wife and I are big Golden State Warriors fans and try to attend as many games as we can during the season.” Furthermore, Richard enjoys spending time with his and Victoria’s two grown children, Ryan (who works as a service advisor at European Sales & Service) and Lacy.
In regard to his career, Richard espouses the importance of honesty. “With each diagnosis we perform, we give the customer a full report so they’re well aware of the car’s condition and what needs to be done,” he says. “In addition to helping customers make informed decisions about their vehicles, I think our straightforward approach contributes to a greater sense of trust.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Richard says he hasn’t given it a lot of thought. “I really have no desire to retire. I enjoy having my own shop and running my business. It definitely has its challenges, but that just makes it all the more gratifying when we’re able to achieve a successful result.”
Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1956 Ford hot rod with a 392 Chrysler Hemi engine.
Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Sushi Hana in Sebastopol.
Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Besides excelling in auto class, I would say sports. Even though I never tried out for the track team, I still managed to tie the school record for the 60-yard dash.
Q: Pancakes or waffles?
A: I like them both, so maybe stick a pancake in between the waffles.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Old wheat pennies.