–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: Aug 18, 2020
“Our business really slowed down and people just did not shop for cars when COVID-19 stay-at-home recommendations were first issued,” noted Adam Smidi of Joe’s Auto Sales, 3538 Holland Sylvania Rd.
“I didn’t want to lay anyone off so we all agreed to pitch in and renovate our building. Thanks to the pandemic, we now have a new look that is customer friendly and much more efficient for my sales staff as well,” he reported.
“Our goal was to improve the customer experience and to help our business processes flow better to make people’s jobs a bit easier. We watched a lot of YouTube and my mechanic found he could hang drywall. My sales people did very well with paint brushes and we managed to accomplish a lot ourselves. We did have professional help removing the front porch, which used to serve as our ‘waiting room’ for customers. Now we have a professional, yet welcoming, waiting area complete with a flat screen TV for customer comfort. Private sales areas have been created allowing customers and sales people a comfortable, quiet place to negotiate sales. We also have created a break room for employees to enjoy lunches, coffee breaks and even our staff meetings,” Smidi said.
“In addition, we have upgraded the bathroom, which is so very important, especially during nice weather. We get many people stopping by who are on the bike trail adjacent to our building and we make our facilities available to them. We offer cold water for them and others, as well,” he explained.
“This business and this building has been very kind to our family through the past 30 years. It was time for us to take care of this building,” he said.
According to Smidi, there has been a subtle shift in how customers are now buying cars. “We have upgraded our website so customers learn everything possible about each car we have available for sale. We show every imperfection along with the highlights of each vehicle. We also can complete most of the paper work associated with a sale so that a customer only comes in to test drive the vehicle he or she has chosen and make the final arrangements. This system has been working very well and I anticipate this is what we will be doing going forward,” Smidi offered.
Customers who buy a car from Joe’s Auto Sales during the month of August will receive two tickets towards winning the 2020 Anniversary Car Give-A-Way. Those who have purchased a car from September 2019 through July 31, 2020 receive one chance to win.
The 30th anniversary celebration takes place on Aug. 28 and 29 with the drawing to be held on Aug. 29. In addition, a number of other gifts will also be given away during the anniversary celebration. Food, beverages and a local band will be on hand to complete the festivities.
How it all started
According to Smidi, shortly after his dad arrived in the area from Lebanon, he ran across a stranded motorist whose car had broken down. He tried to help and when he couldn’t get the car started, he loaned the
stranded driver his own car to get him where he needed to go. Smidi ended up buying the disabled vehicle, was able to repair it and ended up selling the car at a profit. That success gave him the incentive to buy more cars, fix them, and sell them.
By 1990, Smidi was ready to start his business. He opened a seven-car lot at 3538 N. Holland-Sylvania Rd., where he would do his buying and selling. As the business continued to grow and the car lot was expanded, the original office building was demolished and all transactions are handled in the newer office that fronts the now full-service shop.
Smidi explained that since his father began the company, the inventory of vehicles has always included cars that are between 8 to 10 years of age that could be sold at affordable prices of $5,000 or less. Today, there are up to 50 used cars, trucks, SUVs and more on the over three-acre lot. “My dad found a niche market,” said Smidi, who took over the day-to-day operation of the business in 2006.
“While my dad has officially retired, he spends a good bit of time here every day. His strong work ethic shines through and he continues to find things to do such as washing cars or developing new marketing strategies. He always has something special going on such as promoting a sale for every season. He even came up with the idea to offer free bottled water to those using the bike trail that runs right next to our building,” Smidi said.
“Through the years, my dad has also developed great relationships with all of the new car dealers and he continues to work with them to acquire used vehicles from them,” he added. And, because the dealership buys and sells used vehicles, Smidi, early on, developed partnerships with local auto mechanics to check out the cars he would buy and fix to get ready for sale. Later, he added a full-service shop in the company headquarters building for the cars that are bought and sold. “We also provide service for our vehicles after the sale.”
Smidi continued, “My dad has high standards and has always used an inspection process that reflects those standards, something we continue today. We have always balanced affordable with dependable. We also believe in the highest of customer service and satisfaction.”
That emphasis on customer service and satisfaction also led the Smidis to provide short-term financing for customers if necessary. “We have found that many of our customers do not have the cash necessary to purchase a vehicle even if it is very affordable. We can help them,” he stated.