It’s number three for Todd Dobson, General Manager at America’s Car-Mart of Jonesboro, Ark., the winner of Car-Mart’s prestigious Lot of the Year award for 2020. He also achieved this honor in 2010 and 2011.
“This award is great recognition for our store and associates as it’s a testament to our hard work and great service to our customers. It’s also reassurance that we are doing things the right way,” says Todd, who attributes this accomplishment to ‘basic blocking and tackling,’ taking care of customers and associates and simply putting in the work every day.
“Hard work really does produce a positive outcome,” Todd continues.
Additionally, Todd and his team of 19 associates are focused on making their customers feel comfortable and special every time they walk onto their lot. “We give them a consistent way to take care of their business. We provide reliable transportation. We help them when they need help. Helping with their credit. Providing reliable service. No stress,” says Todd, while emphasizing that consistency in the process is key to keeping customers on the road.
It’s also about selling a quality, used vehicle to customers. “My inventory takes about 75 percent of my day making sure our product is right before we put it out there,” Todd continues. “Making sure the vehicle is the best version of what it can be and selling it to the right person.”
As a leader, Todd’s morning routine – and favorite part of his workday – is the first hour in the morning where he arrives at the store before everyone else. It’s then that he organizes, plans, and tackles the busy work to make sure that his associates know what to expect for the day. “It’s a better way for them to start their day,” notes Todd.
After all, they’re a family. “We really are a family. We work together as a family,” says Todd.
Todd’s automotive journey
At age 12, Todd started sweeping floors at an automotive paint and body shop across the street from his home in Brinkley, Ark. He continued working at the shop through high school where each year he took on additional responsibility.
“It gave me good automotive knowledge. I’ve known cars and been around cars for as long as I can remember,” Todd says while adding this was perfect preparation for working and managing his own lot at Car-Mart.
In 1997, he moved to Jonesboro to attend Arkansas State University. After a few years, Todd opened his own paint and body shop and performed some repair work for Car-Mart. “That’s how I learned about Car-Mart,” he says.
But wanting to do more with his life and have a career with potential for growth, he applied for a job at Car-Mart.
All roads lead to Jonesboro
Todd joined the company in January 2003 in Jonesboro where his first job was as a Customer Service Representative. He was quickly promoted to Assistant Sales Associate, a position he held for two weeks, before being promoted to Sales Associate. He then took a temporary job as an Account Representative to learn that facet of the business.
After three months, he was named Sales Associate at America’s Car-Mart of Paragould, Ark. where he increased his knowledge about the operations of Car-Mart. He was only there for three months when he returned to Jonesboro as Assistant Manager. Next, he opened a new dealership in Trumann, Ark. in 2005, a franchise of the Jonesboro store.
While performing these jobs, Todd participated in the company’s Future Manager Training program, where associates learn about the business, as well as management techniques and leadership skills.
In 2006, he returned to Paragould as General Manager. Two years later, he returned to Jonesboro as GM. What’s more, his most proud moment was the day he was promoted to General Manager at Jonesboro. “It’s my home store. It was a chance to step into a ‘big boy’ dealership and take on one of the big stores to see if I was as good as I thought I was,” says Todd.
Indeed, Todd is now living his best career. His hard work and tireless efforts at Car-Mart have propelled him to where he is today.
Dedicated to Car-Mart
“Car-Mart gave me something that I wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise. It gave me the ownership of managing and owning my own business without having to make a financial investment,” Todd says. “Car-Mart gave me the opportunity to be a small business owner and essentially run my own business. And, I can make an impact.”
“It’s also given me the opportunity to serve customers who very much feel like a family,” continues Todd.
Working at Car-Mart is both gratifying and energizing for Todd. And, it’s the most challenging thing he could ever imagine doing. “There’s no other job like it. Nothing is as demanding and rewarding at the same time. There are a lot of people who grew up the same way I did. Trying to make ends meet. Trying to survive the grind,” he says. “There’s something special about working with people who remind you about the way you grew up. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to provide for my family.
“Car-Mart is a part of my blood family. I spend as much time at Car-Mart as I do at home. I’m as dedicated to Car-Mart as I am my own family,” continues Todd, husband to Ashley and father of three children, Ella, Owen, and Aubrey.
“This is a part of who I am. This is where I am designed to be. Everything prepared me for my role as a General Manager at Car-Mart. It feels like it’s always been part of the plan,” Todd concludes.
Inspired to perform at a high level, his legacy with Car-Mart is to leave the company [not any time soon, though!] as one of the best managers the company has ever employed – to be a shining star at Car-Mart for years to come.
To be sure, he’s found his home at Car-Mart and he’s achieved success. Stay tuned for Lot of the Year number four by Todd and his team!
Learn more about Car-Mart’s Future Manager training program: Unlocking Potential, Car-Mart’s Future Manager Training Develops Leaders.