Does destiny dictate that some dealerships succeed and some fail?
The latter appeared to be the case for a General Motors dealership in Albany, N.Y. The outlet has changed names and ownership a handful of times.
"The store was somewhat neglected previously," admits Mike Pendergast, dealer principal at Buick-Pontiac-GMC of Latham.
Pendergast, a 35-year-old former high school linebacker, took over the dealership in June 2003 and is beginning to see results from the changes he has made. The point once averaged 200 sales a month but in recent years has averaged only 30.
Now, after only six months under Pendergast, sales have doubled to 60 a month.
Not bad for someone who had seen his future far away from the automotive world.
"I wanted no part of the automotive industry when I was in college," Pendergast says. "Then one day, my father-in-law asked me to work with him."
Pendergast's father-in-law is Walter Otto, president of the Otto Group, which operates dealerships in the Albany area.
"I started off stocking shelves in the parts department," Pendergast says. "I did every single job at the dealership, and it wasn't long before I realized that working in the automotive industry is far more interesting than people realize. One day, my father-in-law said, 'Why don't you try it on your own?' I wasn't certain at first, but I think everyone has to take a chance like this to experience success - or failure - on his own."