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New vehicle dealership opens in Philip

David Burnett is the owner and operator of Philip’s newest business – All Star Auto. Located at 520 E. Highway 14, the business is sharing office and lot space with B&B Sales.

Burnett didn’t jump into running his own used-vehicle business, though he knew that he didn’t wish to work for someone else the rest of his life. “I can be my own boss,” Burnett said of his new venture. “If you can’t take a chance, what is there? I knew I didn’t want to try this when I was 60-years-old.”

Burnett is experienced in the trade, and especially in doing business in a small town like Philip. His father, Richard, operated the Cenex station for 25 years. “I helped there. I liked working with people, tires, mufflers, and cars. Dad was a people person,” said Burnett. At the age of 17, Burnett worked as a parts man at Philip Motor for about three years. He moved up to being the parts manager for the next 17 years. Then he became a salesman. “Sales is pretty darned rewarding. My first time of selling a $30,000 car was quite a high. It can’t get old,” he said.

Burnett left Philip Motors on very good terms. “They had a cake for my last birthday and gave me a Black Hills Gold watch when I left.” Now Burnett is sharing space with Mark Buchholz at B&B Sales. “Mark needed someone to help with, not work for, his business. He’s letting me help him. His clients are my clients, and vice-versa. It is now an only-in-Philip type of relationship,” said Burnett.

“I learned much from my father-in-law, Larry Pfeifer, who was with Dorothy Brothers for a long time, and from Ike Kelly. They were my mentors; they taught me the ropes. Now, my wife, Mary, does my books, and she is the one who keeps track of me, which isn’t always easy.

“I believe in offering a fair product for a fair price. I am also a people person, yet I love competition. That is probably why I am in sales and love to referee,” said Burnett.

Burnett said that refereeing high school and college basketball is his release during the winter months, “There is a lot of hollering, upset fans, and tension, but there is no other place that I’d rather be.” Burnett has officiated seven high school state tournaments. Once while refereeing, he even sold the pickup that he had driven to a Faith basketball game, then had to find a ride back to Philip. He said that he will have to give up refereeing and become a parent/spectator when his own children get into sports.

Burnett would not leave the Philip area to open a business anywhere else. “People here are the salt of the earth. I have family here and it’s the best place to raise kids. I tell people that in any small town like Philip, without your loyal repeat customers, you can’t make it.”