I remember my wife and I going to the bank and taking out a substantial loan in 1984 to purchase stock in a small franchise dealership in Eldon, Missouri and I wish I could say the rest is history. As I reflect on my business, there were a lot of ups and downs, but mostly ups. It seems like yesterday I owned two successful franchised dealerships- Lloyd Belt GM Center and Lloyd Belt Chrysler. With any business you would have good years, not so good years, and then occasionally a bad year. Well, in 2009 it was a bad year with the downturn of the economy and GM and Chrysler filing for bankruptcy. The hardest part was telling my employees they no longer had jobs. Our small community was hit very badly and prior to closing, a large factory in town closed and moved to Mexico. Eldon was hurting. Enough with the downs!
I reopened 30 days later as an independent car dealer with no new cars on the lot, no jewelry hanging on the building (car logos), no fancy advertising, and signage. Lloyd Belt Automotive is a family owned business that employees 25 great people. We no longer answer to the big automobile companies and we also don’t answer to a board of directors. This business is not about cars; it’s not about car repairs. Our business is about people – it’s about serving people and our community. It’s a great feeling all the way around. You’re doing something you love and giving back. What could be better?