Hispanic Heritage Month – a special time to celebrate the cultures and contributions of Spanish and Latin American people around the world. Here at America’s Car-Mart, we’re proud to recognize the influence the Hispanic culture has had on our company and the communities we serve.
It’s also an opportunity to honor the great achievements of our Hispanic associates. We recently asked Pedro Mendez, Area Operations Manager, Covington, Ga., to share what Hispanic Heritage Month means to him.
Pedro, a native of Miami, Fla., joined Car-Mart in July 2013 in the Manager in Training program in Rogers, Ark.
Three months later, he was promoted to Assistant Manager in Rogers, then to General Manager in Albertville, Ala. for one year and on to Prattville, Ala. for five years. He opened his franchise Car-Mart location in Montgomery, Ala. in 2018 and worked there before assuming his current position.
Here’s more from Pedro, whose father and maternal grandmother emigrated from Cuba:
What does your Hispanic heritage mean to you?
It’s about family, faith, pride, love and generosity.
I grew up learning family is everything, so when I think about my heritage, I see family.
What makes you most proud of your culture? And do you have any favorite Hispanic traditions?
I am most proud of my culture of having a family-first mindset. My favorite Cuban traditions are enjoying festivals with Cuban dishes, good cigar, a drink known to us Cubans as a “cube libre”, dancing and, of course, playing dominos. In Miami, the best festival event is “Calle Ocho”.
Why is Hispanic Heritage Month important to you? And how will you celebrate?
Simply put, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate my heritage and teach others about our culture – our food, music and more. My wife, Samyya, and I will celebrate with food, lots of food, and music. We love reggaeton and salsa music.
How do you stay connected with and honor your tradition?
The best way to stay connected and honor Cuban traditions is how I live my life every day. I try and live in a way that would make my family and people proud.
Moving to you personally, what’s your Car-Mart story?
I had a career going in Miami and my brother was in Bentonville, Ark. He recruited me to move to the area and work for his company. In that process, I came across Car-Mart. I read an ad and learned about the company and what they do for the communities. So, I applied. But what actually brought me to Car-Mart was the opportunity to run my own business and to influence people in a positive way – that was intriguing to me.
And it’s the relationships that keep me at Car-Mart. I’ve met and worked with a lot of great people – associates, customers, vendors.
What was the moment you knew you’d made the right decision to work for Car-Mart?
It was on my first day. The manager had just purchased 20 vehicles and they needed to be prepped for customers. Everyone on the team helped with the process, and that was encouraging for me to see individuals willing to roll up their sleeves and work.
Also, during my first week, the Car-Mart associates were so willing to help and teach me what I needed to know. And then over the years seeing how the company treats its associates and customers – has also been a source of encouragement.
How would you encourage other Hispanics to consider a career at Car-Mart?
Sharing my story and talking about the opportunities I’ve had at this company. That will hopefully inspire other Hispanics to travel a similar path.
What can we do to create a more inclusive world?
With compassion and understanding. These two things are a good foundation for an inclusive world. We all come from different places and have different ideas. So, we all need to be more understanding and respectful of each other and our differences.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Roll Tide and Cuba Libre.
If you’re awesome and want to work with awesome people like Pedro, come work at Car-Mart. Go to Car-Mart.com/careers to learn about job opportunities at Car-Mart in our 12-state area.