For employees at Larry H. Miller Hyundai Peoria in Arizona, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic can be described as a period of survival, as the dealership scurried to put into place storewide protocols to protect staff and customers while keeping the business afloat.
"In March of last year, we panicked," said Rick Trinkl, the store's general manager since 2016.
This year — even as the pandemic persists and a new set of challenges emerge amid a lingering chip shortage that has caused dealer inventories to dwindle — Trinkl says the panic has faded. Instead, the store's 103 employees have adapted to a new normal of health and safety procedures and trust management to support them as retail operations evolve amid the dual crises.
"We're in it together. We talk about it every day," Trinkl said of the pandemic and tight vehicle inventories. "Every time there's a little bump in the road, we're just prepared for the conversation and nobody is panicking anymore."