Are you a horse trader or a retailer?
That’s a weird question isn’t it? During our first days on the lot our manager didn’t give us a history lesson on the car business. He taught us how to follow the road to a sale and maximize profit. And maybe he, himself, didn’t know where the road to the sale originated either.
My grandfather, Ed Snyder, is my hero. He was born in 1928 to a family of merchants where he grew to run the family’s Norfolk, VA department store: L. Snyder’s. The store, named for his grandfather who brought us to the United States in the prior century, closed it’s doors in 1969 against national competition. Sears, JC Penny, etc were too big to compete with, so Ed found a home within the dealership he started in 1964: Checkered Flag. Today, Ed is semi-retired and is available to family & friends who like to listen. He is an invaluable wealth of advice, but he is my hero due to his wisdom.
In a recent conversation Ed told me the problem with the car business is that it was created by horse traders. As a student of history I immediately appreciated what that meant. The horse trade was not the most scrupulous endeavor. Just think of characters like Billy the Kid funding their ventures by stealing horses and you can begin to get the sense of what one might call the “wholesale department” of the horse trader. [Read more…]