From despair to determination: One steadfast car dealer’s journey through the auto industry

After being ousted from his family’s store surrounding the 2008 recession, car dealer John Allen was determined to come back to the building that bore his family name. With his incredible story of determination and doubling store sales and profits along the way, it’s easy to see why he was named to Automotive News’ 40 under 40 list. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome John Allen, General Manager at Allen of Monroe.

Allen begins the conversation by discussing his journey into the automotive industry. He says, he doesn’t like talking about it because it was a rough time. It was a family dealership, but in a FedEx envelope, it was told to Allen, that everything they ever worked for was gone. This happened during the 2008 recession. One of their franchises closed and Allen and his brother were forced to run the store. They had to take on a partner and sold the majority share.

After being fired, Allen says he got some words of advice, which were, if you want to do this, fall in love with the business again. But after starting, Allen realized the problem wasn’t selling cars but about him and taking accountability. He went from selling six cars a month to being second on the leader board. In three years, Allen went from selling cars to the general manager of two dealerships.

The pandemic impacted many in the auto industry last year. Allen says, he had to lay off all his employees and that was one of the hardest days of his life. He says, afterward, they needed to find a solution to the situation. They worked with friends of the dealership and state representatives, to create an online selling process, to do everything digitally. After presenting a plan to their state senators, they were the example to show how dealerships can operate and sell cars safely. He says they are always investing in themselves.

Allen ends the conversation by discussing what’s next for him and Allen of Monroe dealership. He says they are excited. The question he asks his team is, what are we going to do to double sales? He says they don’t rely on people who are unreliable. They’ve put together a game plan and realize, this is the time to execute. When things change, they want to make sure they are ahead of the curve.

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