Editor's note: An earlier version of this story, which also appeared on Page 41 of the June 10 print edition, gave the wrong former title for Jonathan Sobel. He was a partner at Goldman Sachs in 2005.
In 2005 Jonathan Sobel bought an M3 convertible at BMW of Southampton in Southampton, N.Y.
He was a partner at Goldman Sachs in New York at the time.
Five years later, Sobel -- by then a financial services and real estate entrepreneur -- came back.
This time he acquired the BMW dealership plus a Mini dealership and the land the stores sit on.
"What attracted me initially was that it had outstanding real estate," says Sobel, owner of BMW of Southampton, Mini of Southampton, Audi Southampton and Porsche of Southampton.
The BMW and Mini dealerships were in bankruptcy when Sobel, now 46, bought them. The previous owner had lost his floorplan and was out of trust. Sobel decided he could turn things around for the stores. He would add "car dealer" to his resume.
"As I was in the process of doing the foreclosure, I realized not only was the real estate valuable, but the franchises had a lot of value," Sobel says.
It took about two years to get the stores back in the black. Sobel hired one new general manager to oversee both stores. He kept about half of the previous employees and retained all of the service technicians.
But when summer comes and business peaks in the Hamptons, he hires five more people to be valets, drivers and car washers to improve customer service.