1. Three of our four locations used to be restaurants! Our lot at 209 W. Little York and our lot at 6111 Airline were both Sonics. Our newest lot at 1725 Wirt Road used to be a Mr. Gatti’s Pizza. When we bought the property, the building still had the giant walk-in freezer! Who would’ve guessed that restaurants make good car lots? Thankfully Mr. B. has an eye for design!
2. A third of our employees have been with us for over 10 years. Some have either passed or are approaching the 20 year mark. Many of our employees started out here right out of high school and were even classmates at Sam Houston High School. Believe me, we’ve had fun looking through those year books. It’s been awesome for Liberty to have this kind of stability. Each generation just trains up the younger one! It’s like one big family, no matter what our last names are.
3. Speaking of family . . . Liberty loves babies! Hardly a year goes by without a new baby being born into our Liberty family. Many of these babies have spent more time at the car lot than at a daycare or preschool! My twins started coming to work with me at 5 months old and still think that the car lot is one of the best places in the world. They love lot #1 the best, because Grandpa is there of course!
4. Family, Family, and More Family! There are a lot of Bakers in this company to be sure: my dad, my mom, my two brothers, and me. However, we have three more sibling sets in our business! We have Jessica and Esthela, who are sisters. Then there’s Laura and Olivia, also sisters. Our newest set is actually sister-in-law, Cinthya and Rossi. You’d think working with your brothers and sisters would be tough, but we all manage to get along somehow!
5. We have a “vintage,” pink boombox that has been playing nonstop for at least 20 years. Seriously, no one has turned it off in decades. We just lower the volume when we close up at night. I personally bought this beautiful boombox in 1986 from Sam’s. I saved up my allowance to make this glorious purchase, even though my brothers tried to persuade me to buy baseball cards. It turned out to be a great buy, since it’s still working almost 30 years later! One former employee tried to steal it, but the boombox is still here and she’s not.
6. Liberty Autos has the best security system ever. We’re guarded by two formidable cacti. Yes, i’m talking about the plant. Decades ago, my dad brought back a small clipping that he cut from a cactus on the side of the road in South Texas. Now it’s massive and has a baby. It blooms and bears fruit. Folks from the neighborhood come by and take the young leaves to make nopales. It’s definitely a deterrent for any who imagine climbing the fence.
7. Those of us who’ve been around Liberty since the early 90s are all formidable Tetris champions. In those days, we had one computer, and that computer had one game. You guessed it, Tetris! My dad claims to be the all time best player, but it’s not exactly fair since he had way more time to play it. Also, he’d kick us off the computer whenever we were getting too close to his high score, alleging he had actual work to do!
8. We are dyed in the wool supporters of Houston sports teams. Whether it’s the Dynamo, Rockets, Texans, or Astros, we cheer exclusively and fanatically for our teams! We watch the games in the office at the same time we’re selling you a car. It just wouldn’t be a normal day at Liberty if we didn’t spend at least half of it discussing the most recent game, the players, the coaches, and how much we loathe the Cowboys!
9. Liberty lives by its very own set of traditions. I guess that’s natural if you’ve been around as long as we have. We must always watch the trail riders go down Little York at the kick off of every Rodeo season. We must have tamales on Christmas Eve. We must hold foot races down Domino Lane any time a challenger arises that claims he or she can run faster than my dad. We must have pie from My Dee Dee’s Pie Shoppe at least once a week.
10. The last thing you may not have known about Liberty is that we are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year! We’ve come a long way since 1981 and are thrilled to look back on the tens of thousands of cars we’ve sold and customers we’ve met. There will be lots of special Liberty events throughout the year, so keep an eye on our Facebook page and website. www.libertyautohouston.com.