COO, Spitzer Management
Andrew Spitzer was named COO of his family dealership group's corporate office in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic more or less shut down auto retail in March and unleashed more than two years' worth of inventory challenges.
That wasn't exactly ideal timing, Spitzer acknowledges. But looking back, the pandemic gave him and his team the chance to do things differently than they otherwise might have, he said — and that set up the company for success.
"The inflated margins we have gave us more wiggle room to try new stuff," he said. "It gave us a chance to do things that a lot of my guys might have been more hesitant to try. In a normal world, every cent counts. It's not like that still doesn't apply, but we're willing to take risks."
Those risks have paid off, with Spitzer Management's stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida reporting gains in new- and used-vehicle volume over the course of Spitzer's tenure. The group launched the Spitzer Shield, a package of benefits that includes a lifetime warranty, as well as a certified pre-owned program.
"I wanted to do that because when I was selling, I loved selling certified pre-owned. It's a new pre-owned vehicle, so it still looks good and drives well and has the warranty," he said. "The problem is you can only provide what your OEM has. So this allows us to have a complete arsenal of CPOs to sell."
Spitzer said the stores' success can be attributed in large part to the culture that he and others at the company have cultivated in recent years. He said opening the lines of communication between the corporate office and dealerships' management has been crucial to the group's success during the pandemic.
"I try to surround myself with people way smarter than me and I want to empower them," he said. "I feel like over the past couple of years, our talented people have been empowered to showcase their skills, and that's helped the company to perform well."
— John Irwin