Jennifer Scarbrough, 35
General manager, Swope Hyundai-Genesis of Elizabethtown
Like many multi-generation auto retailers, Scarbrough started in the business young. But she also took her father’s advice and pursued her longtime passion, music.
Scarbrough ultimately came back to the car business and now has her sights set on eventually becoming dealer principal of the Swope Family of Dealerships in Elizabethtown, Ky.
“Growing up in the dealership world, you experience that life early,” said Scarbrough, who started helping out at her uncle’s dealership at age 14. “It’s all I ever knew growing up.”
Encouraged to spread her wings, Scarbrough went to college in Nashville, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on the music industry from Belmont University. As a singer and songwriter, that combined two of her passions.
But Scarbrough found out quickly that she wasn’t crazy about the inner workings of the music industry and started working at a Nashville dealership while finishing college. She also worked as an entertainer at a karaoke bar.
“I still love singing, I love performing, I enjoy being on stage,” she said. “But it’s not my passion to be on the music side of the business.”
That passion still resides in auto retailing. After working in Nashville for nearly a decade, Scarbrough returned home in 2018 and began improving the numbers at Swope Hyundai-Genesis.
“In the face of the microchip shortage and unprecedented inventory and parts shortage, in 2021 Swope Hyundai and Genesis of Elizabethtown thrived, having an all-time record year of growth in both variable and fixed operations,” she said.
The improvements made at the dealership took the store as a whole from a net operating loss in 2020 to a net profitability of 40 percent last year, she said.
One of her passions now is a roundtable group among finance managers at the Swope group of dealerships. The monthly meetings focus on growing finance and service income.
“There was not a single dealership that did not improve profitability per retail vehicle and extended service contract penetration year over year,” Scarbrough said of 2021 performance.
In her spare time, Scarbrough is training for her first triathalon by starting with a half Ironman event, which is 70.3 miles of running, swimming and biking combined. “I dive into things headfirst,” she said.
— Laurence Iliff