Last week we celebrated the best new-car dealerships to work for.
It was the second such event that Automotive News has held. What is remarkable is the quality of not only the honorees but the applicants.
There are few opportunities today for an individual to join a company and through hard work and lots of creativity become an owner. It doesn't happen often. But when it does, the sky's the limit.
The retail auto dealership is almost unique in giving young people the opportunity to become entrepreneurs. There is nothing like the new-car business for ambitious, hardworking young men and women who want to become owners.
They can create their own futures.
I know of many successful dealers who have, over the years, given young managers the chance to run their own stores and buy out their mentors over time.
From there they might grow into megadealers. Or they might do a great job serving their local communities with single stores. Believe me, it is exciting to see a dealer who has built his or her single point into a strong local franchise and has become a pillar of the community.
Each entrepreneur can go his or her own way. I can't think of any other business that allows managers-turned-owners to select their own path.
Of course, when we celebrate the 100 Best Dealerships To Work For, we are honoring not just the store managers but the entire staff.
Dealerships need the endorsement of all their employees. New-car sales, used, parts and service employees all must have an appreciation for the owners and managers.
It's interesting that some of the 100 stores are from large groups and others are single-point dealerships. There is no cookie-cutter formula for being the best.
Congratulations to all the successful dealerships and to all the employees who made those dealerships winners.
It was a wonderful evening in Chicago. And I look forward to next year.