“I’m a crier, so you’ll have to bear with me,” says Tracey Bruce, General Manager at Car-Mart of Henderson, Kentucky. That’s how Tracey’s Car-Mart story begins.
She purchased her first car in 2015 at the Hopkinsville, Kentucky Car-Mart – followed by another and then another. The vehicles were good deals. Tracey and her husband, Stephen, were gainfully employed. Her children – Annabelle, age 12; and Caden, age 10 – were enjoying school. Life was good.
Then her husband, Stephen, was diagnosed with Necrotizing Fasciitis, a rare, bacterial skin infection. His first surgery lasted nearly nine hours, with two months in the hospital and a month in rehab. Tracey made the 72-mile, one-way trek to the hospital in Nashville every day. Stephen ultimately lost his job because of his illness and Tracey found herself as the sole breadwinner for her family.
Consequently, Tracey was unable to afford her car payment. When she informed the Car-Mart general manager (GM) she couldn’t pay, the GM re-structured her payment and asked her to come to the dealership every Friday with a payment. On the first Friday, the GM served her a hot plate of food and filled up her gas tank. Moreover, the Car-Mart team provided food and gas to Tracey for three months.
“They [Car-Mart] took really good care of me,” recalls Tracey. “They called every day and asked how my husband was doing.”
Throughout this ordeal, Tracey never lost faith. Stephen had to learn to walk again, yet he survived, thanks to determination and prayers.
It was this life-changing experience when Tracey concluded she should join the Car-Mart family. She applied for a job, interviewed and was ultimately hired as a manager-in-training at the Car-Mart of Hopkinsville, Kentucky in March 2017. After three months, she was named Assistant Manager at the Car-Mart of Madisonville, Kentucky, and in February 2018, she became the GM in Henderson.
Indeed, it’s been a roller coaster ride for Tracey and her family. Shortly before she became GM, her husband relapsed and returned to the hospital. “The doctor told Stephen that he had one foot out of the grave,” says Tracey. “During this process, Car-Mart provided me so much support.”
While Tracey’s husband still has a long road ahead of him, Car-Mart has never stopped cheering for his recovery and good health.
Friendship + fellowship = Car-Mart
For Tracey, it’s easy to be an ambassador for Car-Mart. “When I go out and promote the business, I do it with compassion and love,” she says, while adding she’s about to buy her sixth vehicle from Car-Mart.
Because of her journey, Tracey can relate to her customers. “I’ve been there. I use the same compassion that my bosses and the Car-Mart corporate office have shown to me,” Tracey says.
Her proudest moment at Car-Mart is when her son said he wanted to be a purchasing agent for Car-Mart. “He sees how much I love my job,” smiles Tracey.
“I don’t know where my life would be without Car-Mart. The company has been so amazingly supportive of me. Everyone has rallied around me. My Car-Mart family is thinking and praying about me,” concludes Tracey. “Since coming to Car-Mart, I can take care of my family.”