“Here I am, and I started at the bottom,” says Tommy Tompkins, of his career at Car-Mart. “I’ve been a smorgasbord of jobs. I’ve done a little bit of everything at Car-Mart.”
As a kid growing up in a small town in Missouri, Tommy’s parents raised him to be the best he can be. They inspired him to ‘be somebody.’ And, now, he is somebody – a General Manager at Car-Mart of Berryville, AR.
Tommy’s Car-Mart journey started as an Inventory Associate in Joplin, MO. in May 2016 before moving on to Account Representative and then into Sales. “I honestly never sold a day in my life.
While in Sales, Tommy was asked to participate in the company’s Future Manager training. Here he learned the basics of the business. He, also, served as manager for various stores with the objective of getting entrenched into and making progress for the business.
During the training, his ‘aha’ moment was recognizing the value of the dealership’s daily reports, which shows inventory levels, profit and loss, and other analytics. Tommy says the Future Manager training was integral to his overall success at Car-Mart. “It’s all worth it. The training gives us the knowledge to take our skills to the next level. It gives you hands-on experience with customers,” Tommy says. “Overall, the training is awesome, and I am blessed to be a part of a growing company.”
Moving on up to Management
Two short months after completing the training, he was named Assistant Manager at Car-Mart of Harrison, AR. and then Franchise Manager in Carthage, MO. His proudest Car-Mart moment was interviewing for the Carthage position. “I was so nervous. It was the biggest interview of my life. I walked out of that interview knowing I had the job. So, yeah, I flexed my chest a little bit,” Tommy smiles. “And I’m not going to stop climbing until I get to where I want to be.”
In October 2019, he was offered his current position.
“Honestly, I don’t want to go anywhere else. Car-Mart has been a lifesaver to me,” says Tommy. “I want my photo to be on the wall of the Corporate office after 25 years. That’s where I want to be.”
Never a dull moment
For Tommy, the best part about working at Car-Mart is getting to know his customers and making their day. “I love dealing with my customers every day. It’s never a dull moment. There’s always a story to be told. I enjoy making their day, shaking their hand, delivering a good, quality vehicle to them and seeing a smile on their faces when they drive away. That’s special.”
“Look at all those cars”
Tommy is inspired by his fiancé, Erika, and three-year-old daughter, Aubri. “They keep me going every day. They make it all worth it,” remarks Tommy.
In fact, the sight of a Car-Mart puts a smile on Aubri’s face. “She loves Car-Mart. She perks up in her car seat when we drive by a Car-Mart. She’ll say, ‘there’s where you work, Daddy. Look at all those cars.’ That makes me smile.”
When it comes to working at Car-Mart, Tommy encourages others to take the opportunity to work at the company. “Take it and run with it. The training bestowed upon us is incredible. It will make you a better person,” he remarks.
“As for me, I can manage budgets and numbers. Car-Mart has helped me personally to keep money in the bank. I thank the company for that every day,” says Tommy. “I’ve made this a code to my life. Car-Mart has helped make me a better manager, dad—a better everything.”
“Working at Car-Mart is by far the best job I’ve ever had. We simply try to do the best we can every day. I want to retire in 30-40 years and know that I did something good in my life,” Tommy concludes. “And I want to pass that on to my daughter. A kid from a small town can actually be somebody and do the right thing at any given time.” Read on to learn how you can build a rewarding career like Tommy at America’s Car-Mart.