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Story by Lin Stranberg

Brian Jessel and Jim Murray have been partners for years—since 2007, to be exact. Scrooge and Marley, they are not. But liberté, egalité, fraternité are at the heart of this tale of two partners.

They are both accessible, down-to-earth people known for their generosity, love of freedom, and sense of fun. They’re also different from Dickens himself, who left school at the age of 12 to work in a factory when his father was thrown into a debtors’ prison. Jim Murray and Brian Jessel had good parental role models.

Brian’s dad taught him how to be a good guy in the car business and Jim’s dad taught him the power of hard work. Brian attended Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; Jim chose to forego higher education so he could get into the workplace right away. Nonetheless, all three are undeniably selfmade men. They worked hard and created their own destinies.

Dickens was passionate about writing. He sold a lot of books and became famous.

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Brian and Jim are passionate about cars. Brian Jessel BMW sells more BMWs than any other dealership in the country and it has become famous as well. It has been the No. 1 dealer ship in Canada for 18 of the past 20 years.

Their personalities balance the partnership: Brian is decisive, and Jim is methodical. Everything Jim does, he thinks through and executes well. Parties and gatherings at Jessel BMW are always a hit, thanks to his careful planning.

Both partners love all kinds of parties, even tea parties, but would never be found in some dark Victorian tearoom. It’s just not their style. We caught up with them outside, in the full sunlight of Granville Island, with gorgeous actress Emmanuelle Vaugier, this issue’s cover woman.

Nearby are a silver and a blue version of the 2002 BMW Z8, two sought-after heritage cars that form part of their small private collection of interesting BMWs. The 2016 i8 that Brian often drives is another car from their collection. Jim found the i8 n St. John’s, Nfld., and shipped it back to Vancouver.

Mostly, Jim prefers to drive an iX electric SUV. Brian first hired Jim in 1998 as New Car Sales Manager at the dealership he then owned in Coquitlam. “It was a smaller dealership, but we got big results,” Jim said.

“When we moved to our current location in 2004, we were already the No. 1 dealership in the country.” “He did a great job,” said Brian. “In 2007, we became partners.” He is President; Jim is Managing Partner and CEO.

“He’s the boss and I’m in charge” he explained. “Titles mean very little to me. We’re a lot the same. We think the same but have different approaches.”

Unlike most of the partners Dickens portrayed, their personalities harmonize to mutual benefit. “It’s a marriage that’s lasted, ” Jim says.

He thinks of Brian as a mentor and a friend. “He’s a visionary with a real gift to see the future.”

Jim’s focus is on the values that set them apart in business: connection, family, and a strong community presence. Agility is a key business differentiator as well. “We are the last of the big independents,” he says.

“Because we’re not part of an automotive group, we have the flexibility to pivot and move with the industry as needed. And we’re accessible. I’m always on the floor at the dealership, and Brian is lightning-quick to respond to emails.”

The flexibility of their ownership structure, their agility, and their personal accessibility will continue to help the partners drive even greater success in the car business well into the future.

Their love of family, community and fun parties will make sure they keep on living life to the fullest.

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