Jim Williamson, 34
Dealer principal, Williamson Chrysler
Achievement: Quadrupled new-vehicle unit sales and fixed-ops gross since taking over a newly purchased store
Five years ago this past June was a busy time for Jim Williamson.
His family, owners of Williamson Uxbridge Chevrolet-Buick-GMC- Cadillac in Uxbridge, Ontario, had bought a nearby Chrysler store. Williamson was named dealer principal at age 29.
"It was a little scary at first," Williamson said of the promotion. "You work your career for that opportunity and you hope that one day it may happen. It was just a lot sooner than I thought."
As a third-generation dealer, Williamson was familiar with what goes on at a dealership from a young age. He was raised in the family business, working a spectrum of jobs, from car washer to general sales manager.
This position was different. And it was a brand he wasn't familiar with.
After a seven-month warm-up period, Williamson, 34, said he found his stride and the store hasn't looked back since.
Before his family's ownership, the Chrysler store sold around 160 new vehicles a year. That number has soared to 625 today, partly due to the new culture Williamson has instilled at the store.
For example, some of the employees he has hired were new to the dealership business, allowing the entire team to learn and collaborate as the business grows.
"I give a lot of credit to our family and the brand it has created," he said. "The Williamson brand has 70 years of history with it."
The fixed operations department has also seen its numbers climb since Williamson took over. He said the store's gross has quadrupled in both service and parts.
"Our philosophy is, 'We will work on any make or model,'" Williamson said. "Just because we're a Chrysler store doesn't mean we can't work on other products. We want to be the one-stop shop."
He isn't resting on his accomplishments. "We're still trying to figure out the question of 'Is there a ceiling?'" he said. "What business is out there to grab?"