For some, going to work each day is a chore. That’s certainly not the case for Corey Sterns, who values the daily routine.
Corey doesn’t see Car-Mart as just a job, but a place where he can spend time with co-workers who are like family, where people care about each other, where the company cares about its associates, and where there’s opportunity.
The Nacogdoches, Texas native, joined Car-Mart in 2012 in Nacogdoches, and since then, the company has developed and prepared him for future jobs. What’s more, Corey maintains the company even saved his life. Several years ago, he wasn’t his usual lively self. His supervisor noticed and insisted he visit the doctor. Corey was diagnosed with a severe case of sleep apnea and subsequently received the appropriate medication.
“Had I not gone to the doctor, I could have died in my sleep. Had my supervisor not been that good of a manager, who knows…” says Corey. “She did right by me, and I’m forever thankful.”
For all these reasons, Corey says Car-Mart is a great place to work. “Car-Mart has always taken care of me. The company has supported me financially and emotionally,” Corey adds.
Indeed, Corey has learned the business and worked his way up the Car-Mart ladder. He started as an Account Representative and then Senior Account Representative, followed by a promotion to Assistant Manager in Longview, Texas. Most recently, he received a promotion to General Manager in Tyler, Texas.
“I enjoy working here so much. It wasn’t in my head to be a GM,” says Corey. “The leaders at Car-Mart take the time to show you what it takes to be successful.”
With a bit of help from his Car-Mart co-workers … and wife
Corey’s Car-Mart career started when his wife, Nicole, sent his resume to Car-Mart without his knowledge. One day, while teaching high school, he received a call from the local Car-Mart General Manager. Out of curiosity, he decided to see what Car-Mart was all about. He interviewed for the vacancy and was offered the position the same day.
He contends he’s where he’s at today because Car-Mart paved the way for him. Jennifer Martin [GM at Nacogdoches] taught him what it takes to be a good manager. Bert Dunmire, in Underwriting, showed him how to be an effective account representative. Dan Crovella [GM at Longview] gave him the necessary store experience.
And now his name is on the entrance to the Tyler Car-Mart.
“Knowing my name is on the front door gives me a sense of pride. I have a responsibility. I have to make this the best place I can make it,” says Corey. ” “I’m humbled to be offered this position. I’m honored the company is entrusting this store to me. And now I don’t want to stop the momentum.”
That’s why every day, Corey strives to keep his customers on the road. “I let them know if they have a problem, I’m here to help, no matter what,” Corey remarks. “No matter their problem, we will come up with a solution to keep them on the road.”
From the first day to the best moments at Car-Mart
On Corey’s first day, the person who hired him quit, so he was quickly cross-trained in several different areas. After one short month of working at Car-Mart, he knew it was the place for him. “We had fun at work. Great co-workers. We worked as a team,” says Corey. “It was a pleasure to go to work.”
As a former Car-Mart customer, he also appreciates Car-Mart’s compassion for customers. “Car-Mart is the only place I know of where a person can be turned down everywhere else, and when they come here, they have the bare minimum qualifications, and we’ll get them in a vehicle,” he adds.
For Corey, helping people are happy moments that occur every day at Car-Mart. He remembers helping a single mom who was behind in her car payments. Corey listened and restructured her payments. The lady needed her car to take her kids to school and travel to work. Corey and the Car-Mart team took it one step further, buying Christmas presents for this customer’s children. “Seeing them be happy,” says Corey. “That’s a great blessing and memory.”
Another great moment was winning the Bingo Challenge at the Future Manager training program at Car-Mart’s headquarters. “Nobody had ever won, and I won,” smiles Corey. “My photo is still on the training PowerPoint,” smiles Corey.
Corey and Nicole like to create great family memories. They take annual family vacations – to Disney or visit his Dad in Georgia – with their three children – Miya, 19; Madison, 16; and Mason, 7.
As a kid, his grandfather, a police officer for 35 years, was Corey’s ‘superhero.’ “He taught me a lot of stuff about life – be responsible, do the best job you can and always be respectful,” says Corey, while adding that he, himself, graduated from the police academy, but decided that wasn’t for him.
Corey has now made an impression on his nephew, Bryce, who lived with Corey’s family. When Corey was promoted to GM, Bryce called him to congratulate him. “He said, ‘I’m proud of you. You inspire me. I hope I can be like you when I get older,’” Corey says. “That was a great moment, but I said Bryce, ‘don’t be like me, be better than me.’”
Being your best self
Corey’s goal is to be the best person he can be for his children, Car-Mart team, and Car-Mart. That’s what inspires him – set good examples, be a good person and make a small impact on the world. And every day, he sets out to do that and more.
“Car-Mart is always encouraging you to be better and take that next step,” says Corey. “At Car-Mart, you’re not a number. It’s a great company that believes in promoting from within.
“I love everything about what we do at Car-Mart – the mission and values play right into the way we run our business,” Corey concludes. “I can’t imagine myself being anywhere else.”
If you’re looking for a new ride, check out America’s Car-Mart of Tyler. Corey and the Tyler team are ready to help get you into a quality, used vehicle.