It's 10:30 in the morning -- lunchtime for senior managers at Al Hendrickson Toyota in Coconut Creek, Fla., a city of 50,000 about 10 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale.
Over food delivered from Toojay's Deli, the 10 managers hash out the day's tasks and concerns. From the head of the table, Al Hendrickson Jr. runs a tight meeting.
His goal -- and the reason the lunch meeting starts so early -- is to get everybody back on the floor before traffic picks up when customers' lunchtime rolls around at noon.
A daily staff meeting is a good way for managers to run a 200-employee dealership -- and for him and his father, Al Hendrickson Sr., to keep tabs on operations, Al Jr. says.
"We don't formally discuss policy, but we communicate well," Al Jr., who at 41 has been a dealership partner more than half his life, says of his father.
Twenty-one years ago, the two Hendricksons opened the 12-acre dealership. From the start, associates have been encouraged to act independently, but they know either of "the Als" can decide any aspect of operation.
"The first decision is the one that goes," says Al Jr. "We prefer that others take the initiative. They have the job and the authority. We set the goals."
Through the first five months of this year, the Hendricksons' dealership ranked fourth in U.S. Toyota sales. In 2009 the dealership sold 3,079 new vehicles and 1,563 used vehicles.
But that success wasn't certain when they opened.
Al Hendrickson Toyota was in a prime growth location, three miles off Interstate 5. But August 1989 was the middle of a recession; the new construction carried a $12 million mortgage; and neither Al Sr., then 51, nor 20-year-old Al Jr. had a day's experience running an auto dealership.
But what they had were determination, proven car-selling skills and an opportunity neither was willing to let slip away.
Al Sr. was the top lieutenant for Jim Moran, head of JM Family Enterprises, the parent company of Southeast Toyota Distributors, the largest independent distributor of Toyota vehicles. He had been with Moran for 19 years after leaving General Motors, where he had worked his way up to district manager for Pontiac.
"I spent 25 years with the factories," Al Sr. says. "Going to retail was a big change."