Energy, excitement and enthusiasm.
It’s this vivacity that Pat Stutsy-Waldrep brings to her dealership as the General Manager at Car-Mart of Oxford, Mississippi. “When we do this, we can win,” smiles Pat, the winner of Car-Mart’s prestigious Lot of the Year for 2019.
Pat also delivers a dash of jolliness to her workplace. After all, she’s a Christmas baby. “My birthday is Christmas day, so I have to be jolly,” says Pat.
Indeed, she’s a non-stop Energizer bunny. “I meet and greet everybody who comes to my store. On one Saturday, alone, I held nine babies. I come to work every day ready to work – with my associates and customers, cleaning my vehicles, selling those vehicles,” Pat continues. “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”
After vim and vigor, it’s focusing on the simple stuff. Pat runs a ‘tight ship.’ From keeping her dealership’s expenses in line and maintaining a set number on the thermostat to no garbage cans in the office and turning the lights off, Pat not only makes a difference for the business, but she also makes an impact on her associates and customers.
She’s a mentor and teacher to her staff and other associates – teaching future managers and assistant managers. “There’s three ways to win. One, sell your cars. Two, collect your money while building a great relationship with your customers. Three, keep your repair budget on point,” comments Pat, a passionate Car-Mart associate.
An overachiever with an inner drive second to none, Pat set a goal to win the Lot of the Year award by 2020, and she achieved that one year ahead of schedule.
“It’s a great accomplishment. I’m the first woman and first person in my region to win. It’s priceless,” says Pat, a native of West Point, Miss. “When a general manager of 31 years congratulates you, that’s cool.
“It’s just a sensational feeling,” continues Pat, who credits a great staff for the award. “Car-Mart is a great company to work for. I like coming to work every day and being impactful to my associates, vendors and customers. My goal is to make a difference in somebody’s life, and Car-Mart gives me the ability to do just that.”
Since joining Car-Mart in January 2014, it’s been one accomplishment after another. As an Account Representative in Oxford, she won best in the region for six consecutive months. She won Car-Mart’s Pace Setter award in February 2015 for excellence in accounts for six consecutive months.
While at first reluctant to be a General Manager, Pat did sign on as Assistant Manager for the Oxford dealership in February 2015. Seven months later she was named General Manager of the Tupelo, Mississippi dealership where she achieved top ten status for the dealership in 2017. In November 2017, she returned to Oxford to become the General Manager.
It’s all about the smiles
“I love seeing the smiles on customers’ faces when they buy a car, when they sit down and talk about their payments, then seeing them when they pay off the vehicle. It’s an overwhelming feeling to help improve the community,” says Pat, who enjoys seeing Car-Mart cars when she drives around town. “That’s a blessing.”
As a puzzle enthusiast, Pat connects people. When one customer explained she couldn’t make her payment because she needed a job, Pat connected her with another customer who offered her a job. Happy endings for everyone involved. Watch the video and see the smiles.
Stop by Pat’s lot during the Christmas holiday and you’ll find Pat handing out gift cards – 12, as a matter of fact. The customers must sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” for the cards.
“I love people and I love my customers. We treat them like family. This is home,” says Pat. “I like the friendliness and spirit our customers bring into our store.”
“Be active, be involved,” suggests Pat
Pat and her wife, Mandi, stay busy away from work. She’s an avid reader. Her goal is to read 52 books this year ranging from John Grisham to John Maxwell. She and Mandi ride bikes on Sundays. She loves doing puzzles on her phone. She enjoys working outside, especially with her new zero turn lawnmower.
Inspired by her family and customers, her advice to others: “Keep your fire going once it gets started,” Pat concludes. Don’t accept ‘no’ from anyone, and if you’re a boss, set the example for your employees.”