For dealer Jim Hudson, stress relief comes in the form of spirituality.
About two years ago, Hudson hired Race Lariscy to spend a couple of hours of one day a week at Jim Hudson Lexus, Augusta in Martinez, Ga. Lariscy is a chaplain who works for Corporate Chaplains of America. He calls on six businesses, three of which are car dealerships.
"We were worried a little at first that he'd visit every Friday and we're so busy then," said Angela Maskey, public relations manager for Jim Hudson Lexus. "But he is so supportive and he makes it quick and doesn't interrupt us serving the guests."
Lariscy said he makes contact with every employee even if it's just to say hello.
"Every now and then they tell me their dog died or their mother-in-law is in the hospital," Lariscy said. "I spend a minute with them right then."
He often counsels on interpersonal relationships, such as an employee getting chewed out by a supervisor, not getting along with a co-worker or encountering a nasty customer. In one case, an employee told him she'd been promised a raise that was not in her paycheck. He advised her to speak to her supervisor, but she was reluctant. He said: "Let's go do it now, together."
"I didn't say a word," Lariscy recalled. "I just stood in the room and let them talk about it and they both left happy. It was a slip-up in the paperwork and her boss apologized. But she was so upset that she didn't think she could talk to him. I gave her the strength to do so."
At Kunes Country Auto Group of Mount Carroll in Mount Carroll, Ill.; Kunes Country Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Elkhorn in Elkhorn, Wis.; and Kunes Country Ford of Antioch in Antioch, Ill., there are five pastors who visit the stores weekly, said the Rev. Mike Ploeger, an ordained minister who started the program six years ago when dealer Greg Kunes hired him.
Ploeger visits the three stores with the Rev. John Mancusi once a week. They're not there to "proselytize," but to lend an ear, Ploeger said.
"Almost 80 percent of the time, when we listen, the problems just go away," Ploeger said. "There was a lot of drinking. It's still there, but it's not the norm as much as when we started."