Share this article

print logo

As company parties go, what could outdo the Goos?

And you thought accounts payable’s a cappella version of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” at the holiday office party was something special.

West Herr Automotive Group gave its employees a holiday party they’ll never forget Wednesday night with a surprise performance by … the Goo Goo Dolls.

The 1,900 employees and their families were told only that the holiday party would be at Shea’s Performing Arts Center and that they “didn’t want to miss the last 90 minutes” of the event, said Cory Thie, 25, of Buffalo.

When the Goos took the stage, the shocked audience erupted. “Everyone was surprised and started screaming. No one expected it,” Thie said.

The Goos played a 90-minute set including the hits “Name,” “Iris,” “Slide” and “Better Days.”

The band was the finale to a celebratory evening that began with the company’s directors putting on a choreographed dance to the Black Eyed Peas’ “Rock That Body” and a prize giveaway that included vacation packages, big-screen TVs and living room and patio furniture sets.

“We’ve never done anything like that before,” said Jed E. Hunter, West Herr’s chief operating officer, who planned the party. “We’ve had some company events before, but nothing of that magnitude.”

The party was a celebration of what Hunter said was West Herr’s “best year ever.” The dealership has sold 47,000 cars and handled 375,000 repair orders in 2015.

“We’re absolutely adamant about giving back to our employees,” Hunter said. The party also serves as a recruiting tool. “We’ve got to show that being in the car business is a real career,” he said.

While there haven’t been any rumblings of any other superswanky, star-studded holiday parties in the area, Buffalo’s corporations are throwing festive celebrations for their workers.

Every year, Delaware North hosts an “associate party” at its corporate headquarters. Partygoers are treated to food prepared by Delaware North’s culinary teams from Ralph Wilson Stadium and First Niagara Center, as well as some giveaways.

Rich Products is getting ready for its end-of-the-year holiday party at its banquet facility, the Atrium @ Rich’s. A more low-key event, the party will include a review of the year, goals for 2016 and awards for community service. Rich’s associates will be invited to make their own treats at a dessert table that features their “Rich On Top” pre-filled dessert topping pastry bags and pose for silly group shots in a photo booth. Workers’ children who attend the on-site day care facility will get to watch cartoons in comfy chairs while sipping on cocoa in a kids corner.

“There’s a big tree and a lot of lights,” said Rich’s spokesman Dwight M. Grant III, but, alas, no Goos.

“For our 70th anniversary this year, we had a Beatles cover band come in,” Grant said. “That was a fun event.”

email: truberto@buffnews.com and mbecker@buffnews.com