Less than a year ago, Chris Shaffer and several automotive colleagues from Long Island took a gamble.
The odds - including product and market area - were in the New Yorkers' favor. But turning around a lackluster Hyundai dealership in Las Vegas was going to require more than good luck.
One of the first things Planet Hyundai's new team did was scrutinize expenses. The team was led by dealer John Staluppi Jr., who remained on the East Coast, and Shaffer, who is general manager of the dealership and in Vegas.
Shaffer, 31, says the new management team trimmed a number of small budget items. It also changed pay plans to reflect performance better. And they added incentives.
"We cut a number of outside services," Shaffer says. "For example, the dealership had been using five vendors for dents (removal) and five for towing."
Staluppi adds: "We picked one company for each and negotiated deals that would benefit us."
Staff cuts and attrition also reduced expenses.
"We felt it was necessary to refresh the staff because a lot of the people here had bad attitudes," Staluppi says.