DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Glenn Ritchey's office is above the service department at the Chevrolet dealership where he started in the car business 41 years ago. Then he sold used cars. Now he owns the place, as well as seven other stores.
And when he's not in his office at Jon Hall Chevrolet, he may be at City Hall, where he's the mayor of Daytona Beach. Ritchey acknowledges that selling cars has been challenging in recent years, but he says running city government has been even tougher.
Ritchey grew up in what he calls "humble beginnings," raised by his grandmother in Lexington, Ky.
"It was sort of she and I against the world," he says. "I know what it's like to sit in a house with no electricity because you couldn't pay the bill. I've seen both sides of it."
Ritchey left Kentucky shortly after high school and set off across the country with a band he formed called the Mustangs. As a musician, he was versatile -- doing vocals and playing guitar, steel guitar, bass and drums.
He first visited Daytona Beach in 1962 on a concert gig, and he fell in love with the city. "Died and gone to heaven," he says, recalling his initial impression. In 1970, the band broke up while touring in Florida, and Ritchey decided to make Daytona Beach his home.
That year, he got his first automotive job at the former Spence Chevrolet, now his flagship Jon Hall Chevrolet. By 1981, he was a partner in Jon Hall Automotive Group, and in 2001 he took sole ownership.
Since overcoming the challenges of his childhood and forging a successful business career, Ritchey, 70, has immersed himself in public service.
He has been the mayor of Daytona Beach since 2007.
"It's been a different operation altogether," Ritchey says of his roles as owner of Jon Hall and Ritchey automotive groups and as the city's chief executive. "In some cases, running a city and running a dealership are the same. You cannot outspend what you make. But at the dealership, I can make changes immediately. If I decided in the next minute to change any policy I have in place, I just pick up the phone and say, 'Starting right now, here's what we do.' You can't do that in government."
Jon Hall and Ritchey automotive groups, which have stores in Florida and Georgia, sell Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Hyundai, Subaru, Volvo and Nissan vehicles.
All of the dealerships made money in 2010, Ritchey says. And 2011 got off to a good start when Jon Hall Chevrolet made Chevrolet's top 10 list in January, with 194 new-vehicle sales and nearly 100 used. The flagship store sells about twice as many new vehicles as used. The other stores sell about equal numbers of new and used vehicles.