Business 5 in 5 with Tim Zellers

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5 Questions in 5 Minutes

An interview with Tim Zellers, owner of Tamiami Ford / Hyundai / Genesis in Naples, www.tamiamiford.com and www.tamiamihyundai.com

What are the products or services of your company?

We sell new vehicles, pre-owned vehicles, service, collision, parts, and basically take care of our customers through the service department. We sell three different new car lines. At one location, we have the Hyundai franchise. Also paired with that is their luxury model, Genesis, which is the newest luxury line in the country. At our other location, we sell new Fords.

What is the brief history of your company?

We’re actually a fourth-generation company in Naples. My father purchased the Ford Agency in 1973. So, we’ve been in business now coming on 46 years. My father has passed away. So now I’ve got myself in the business, my son, my daughter, and also my grandson is now working in the parts department at the Ford store. We added the Hyundai Franchise approximately nine years ago. So, we’re family. Everybody’s here working around the full year. We’re locally owned and operated.

How did you get into this line of work?

Well, I was just born into it. I mean, my dad was in the car business as a general manager on the east coast. I’m actually a Floridian. I was born in Fort Lauderdale. We moved here in 1973. But, before moving over here, my dad actually thought about buying a charter boat business and we were going to be either commercial fishermen and a charter business or stay in the car business. And, I’m really glad he stayed in the car business. So, I was born into it and came right out of trade school and have been working ever since in the business every day.

What are your company’s competitive advantages?

There’re three generations active in the business and we look upon it as a family business. We feel like taking care of the customer is the lifeblood of what we do. And our business is really based on repeat business with our customers. This is a growth area, so there are people moving into the area.

We have a really strong repeat business through service and taking care of our customers. A car accident, fixing their car in the service department, and when they need a car they come and see us. I think our, our life’s blood is being here every day, the family taking a real strong approach and taking care of the customers. And that’s our inside information to how we grow the business!

Where do you see your company and your industry in five years?

Well, I think the way Naples is growing, I see growth continuing. I think this is a boomtown, as is most of Florida and Southwest Florida. I think our franchises are strong. Our Genesis franchise is going to double their number of products in the next three years. I think Hyundai is on a real upward growth. And this is a great market to be in the Ford business because of trucks and SUVs. They are the big-ticket here. So, you know, I’ve got a daughter in the business and a son that are full time. I see myself turning more and more over to them, which is the way it should be. And, they are very passionate about the business as well. So, I think in five years, I think with continued growth, we’re just going to get better. And with the new generation coming in, we’ll probably have new ideas and do things better than I do. So, we’re, we’re on a growth path.

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