Wayne Huizenga, who died March 22 at age 80, was an entrepreneur through and through.
He got into the waste collection business with one truck and ended up a giant in the industry.
He saw opportunity in video rentals, and before you knew it, he had thousands of stores called Blockbuster all over the land — until he sold the company for a king's ransom. He always knew when to get in and when to get out.
And he saw an opportunity in the car business — not just selling cars but taking care of all the customer's needs with used-car superstores, a rental car fleet and an alliance with a major aftermarket parts and service company. It was all part of a strategy of giving customers cradle-to-grave automotive service.
And the company would be publicly owned. Wayne loved the public marketplace. It gave him an opportunity to raise unlimited amounts of capital and allowed the public to share in his entrepreneurial drive.
His single-point solution didn't work, so he hired the pro, Mike Jackson, who had them stick with auto retailing and shed the other stuff.
Today, AutoNation is the largest publicly owned group of dealerships in the country.