He's lost track of how long he has been in the car dealership business, but after "at least 40, maybe 50 years," Sherrold Haddad has decided it's time to slow down.
The owner of the Flag Mitsubishi in Guildford has sold the automotive business that for the last quarter-century has been recognizable by the world's largest free-standing flagpole and the 3,200-sq.-ft. Canadian flag at its site.
"It's time, I'm not getting any younger and I want to do other things," said Haddad, explaining the decision to sell his dealership to Barnes Wheaton.
"I haven't really been spending enough time with the (Surrey Memorial Hospital) Foundation, or the Variety Club, as I should be. And those things are very important to me."
After operating Chevrolet dealerships in Winnipeg and Medicine Hat, Haddad moved to the Lower Mainland and continued to excel in the automotive industry, setting up shop in Guildford in the early 1970s. The successful business became Flag Chev Olds in the late 1980s after he purchased the huge flagpole that was once on-site at Expo '86 in Vancouver.
Just a few years ago, the operation became Flag Mitsubishi, when General Motors ran into financial difficulty.
"GM was in all kinds of trouble, and they were closing dealerships right, left and centre," said Haddad. "And we were one of the ones they got rid of.
"There weren't many dealerships that were available, but I had a Mitsubishi dealership downtown, and taking it on here was easy. We knew the product."
Haddad won't be totally out of the automotive industry, as he will maintain his interest in Downtown Nissan in Vancouver.
He's thankful for the high profile owning Flag Mitsubishi has provided him, noting it is very helpful when getting involved in the community.
"It enables you to do a fair number of things," he said, "and that's going to be the way I continue."
"If your head isn't saying you have to give back to that community, you've just wasted your life."
Haddad has been a strong community supporter for many years.
He was a key leader in raising more than $10 million for the Children's Health Centre that opened at Surrey Memorial Hospital in 2001.
Haddad also gave $100,000 towards the new ER expansion now underway at SMH.
Another $100,000 gift from Haddad supports a 100-seat lecture theatre at Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus.