Journey of Opportunity

Archie Chambers Shares his 25-Year America’s Car-Mart Story

Archie Chambers with his 25 year award

Twenty-five years ago, Archie Chambers needed a vehicle. While driving by an America’s Car-Mart, he saw the sign ‘as low as $199 down.’ Intrigued, he stopped. He purchased a vehicle. Needing a better job, he applied. And the rest is history.

Archie joined the Car-Mart team as a Manager Trainee in North Little Rock, Ark. in 1997. It was here that he learned about the opportunities at Car-Mart, and he set a goal of becoming a General Manager. During his career, he’s been a Collections Manager, Assistant Manager, and of course, General Manager.

Archie when he first started with Car-Mart
Archie when he first started with Car-Mart

His Car-Mart journey has taken him back and forth between North Little Rock, Batesville, and Pine Bluff, Ark. As General Manager in Batesville, he grew the business by 207 percent! Currently, Archie is a General Manager Trainer where he travels around the company training Assistant Managers to be General Managers.

Called “Car-Mart” by a lady at his church, it’s been quite the ride for Archie at Car-Mart. Recently, he celebrated his 25th service anniversary and reflected on his career.

Jeff Williams, Car-Mart CEO; Archie Chambers, General Manager Trainer; and Vickie Judy, CFO
Jeff Williams, Car-Mart CEO; Archie Chambers, General Manager Trainer; and Vickie Judy, CFO

Best memory:

Having my first future manager reporting to me. I hired this person. I trained him. And then he was offered a new dealership. It was like having your son graduate, and I felt proud!

The proudest moment:

The day I was offered to take over the general manager role at North Little Rock. I was years ahead of my goal!

Best day at work:

The most satisfying and rewarding day was one day at Batesville where my lot attendant and I sold six cars. It was constant, the day flowed. It was a really good day.

The moment he knew he made the right decision to work at Car-Mart:

Interestingly enough, it was at the funeral of the man who convinced me to work at Car-Mart. The president of Car-Mart [at the time] asked me what I knew about Batesville that they didn’t know. She wanted to know how I was so successful at that location. I didn’t really know anything about Batesville, but I knew what my work ethic was. I made up my mind to be successful there. So, for me, that was my defining moment.

The best thing about working at Car-Mart:

It’s the ability to help people. As a company, we can do that. I remember being able to make a difference for a customer at North Little Rock who had cancer. She was a single mom with two kids and unable to work. She had been paying on her note and only had $800 to pay off her vehicle. She called me and said she could no longer pay. So, we devised a plan for her. And we gave her the title to her car. That changed her day and her life!

Plus, every day is a new day. Something new is always happening. Car-Mart is a company of opportunity. We’re constantly changing and staying up with and ahead of the times.

Fast forward to today – Archie is still loving it!

I’ve seen Car-Mart grow. When I started, we had 20-some dealerships, and now we’re at 154. I’ve seen the progress and where we came from. We want to keep our culture going and continue to do great things.

After 25 years, I’m still enjoying what I do. To me, it’s a stable environment – with all the ups and downs of other businesses, inflation or deflation, Car-Mart is still meeting the needs of our customers, and we’re going strong.

And I want to be remembered for never giving up and giving back to what I’ve learned through the years – to see Assistant Managers become General Managers. That’s as good as it gets!

For Archie – a life of adventures

I grew up in the Army. We moved constantly. We lived in Okinawa, Japan for four years, then moved to Minot, North Dakota! My dad then retired to southern Illinois.

My first real job was in Delaware at a thoroughbred horse farm where we sired many famous racehorses. I took care of the Queen of England’s horse. Then I moved back to Illinois and worked on a barge and then in construction. I met my wife, Carmen. My wife’s parents moved to Arkansas, and we came for a visit.

Archie with his family
Archie with his family. Pictured left to right: Charity, daughter-in-law; Addyson, granddaughter; Archie; and Carmen, wife

I told Carmen to not get the idea of moving to Arkansas. We went to Heber Springs, and I fell in love with it. So, yes, we made the move.

We have a son and daughter-in-law, Lance and Charity, and one granddaughter, Addyson. We enjoy yard sales and flea markets. Carmen said I needed a hobby, so I took up fractal burning – burning wood with electricity and that makes a design in the wood. We enjoy playing with our dogs, Skeeter and Nico.

Archie with some of his wood creations
Archie with some of his wood creations

Never a dull moment for Archie!

Join our team!

If you’re looking for a career, check out Car-Mart. Come work with awesome people like Archie. Go to Car-Mart.com/careers to learn about job opportunities at Car-Mart in our 12-state area.

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