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Hard work, long hours pay off for new partner

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It’s been a natural progression through the ranks for Scott Simkins from auto salesman eventually to general manager.

Now he’s getting ready to take the next step when he will become a minority owner of Pitre Buick GMC at the start of 2014.

Pitre Buick GMC
What you didn’t know
The dealership: Scott Simkins just started working at Pitre last August.
Favorite vehicle: GMC Sierra pickup truck
Upcoming promotion: A 96-hour sale that starts on Wednesday

Simkins, along with comptroller Tom Stever, will be taking on a 45 percent share of the business, with Simkins assuming 30 percent.

It was the type of business opportunity that just doesn’t come along too often, Simkins said.

“I’ve been working toward this my whole career,” he said. “I worked hard and I saved my money and it’s a great opportunity. In this day and age, people like me, we don’t get very many chances like this to get into ownership.”

More and more dealerships are being taken over by corporate entities, Simkins said.

But Pitre is trying to buck that trend.

“I’m think it’s important for the local community to have local ownership who care about the community,” he said. “You’ll always be able to talk to an owner here at Pitre.”

When changing his title from general manager to partner, Simkins said he believes very little will change in the way he goes about his business.

“Nothing really will change from what I’m doing now,” he said. “I’ll still be here six days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day. It’s because I love what I’m doing.”

One of the secrets to his success, Simkins said, is that he realized early on that the car business isn’t so much about the vehicles as it is about the people.

“A lot of people think that you have to love cars to be able to sell cars,” he said. “I love people and I love working with people. Don’t get me wrong, I like cars. But I love to see the excitement on somebody’s face when they get to take home a new car.”

Toward that end, Simkins said Pitre makes every effort to qualify people for ownership no matter their circumstance.

“Our qualification rate is about 95 percent,” he said. “There’s nothing that brings a smile to my face more than when somebody tells that we worked harder for them than anybody else they went to. And that happens all the time.”

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