It was many years ago that Joe Page first got into the auto business.
But after a brief fling with the industry in his native Oklahoma, he moved on to other endeavors for a while.
That included running a freight line and brokering a trucking firm.
At the request of a friend, however, he got back into the auto retail business, opening up Car Pros Auto Sales in 2000.
It’s been a North Valley fixture ever since, thanks in part to a farsighted business model that included also opening a finance company at just about the same time.
“The risk is definitely high,” Page said. “If you’re doing this right, you should be able to get back your principal – the amount you sold it for. But many of the customers pay right through to the end.”
Serving a hard-working clientele is what has helped the dealership survive the shaky economy, he said.
“They say you need to diversify your portfolio,” Page said. “Well, we sell to teachers and truck drivers and butchers and mechanics. Those are all our customers and you can’t get more diversified than that.”
With an on-site service center and mechanics on staff, Page insists every vehicle is thoroughly checked and each vehicle comes with a three-month warranty.
“We have a lot of repeat business,” he said. “That’s important.”
What’s also important is that even during the economic downturn, no employees were let go and the staff has actually grown in the ensuing years, Page said.
“Albuquerque has been very good to me,” he said. “There are a lot of people who just need good, basic transportation to get to work, school, buy groceries. Having a job shows a willingness to work and that’s what we’re looking for.”
It’s always a constant challenge to keep moving forward, Page said, but it’s worth the effort.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “It takes a lot to be in business and to stay in business. You have to keep educating yourself and you will never know it all.”