In another life, Jeff Snyder spent his work days badmouthing dealerships.
Hey, it was part of the gig.
“Out of college, I was looking for jobs and got hired for a fleet company,” he said. “We dealt with dealerships and released cars around the country. I was used to badmouthing dealerships because they would often lie to customers.”
Because of that fleet job — where he worked for six and a half years — Jeff never saw himself working for a dealership.
But minds change and tables turn. Jeff is now the Used Car Sales Manager at Garber Chevrolet in Linwood, Michigan.
He learned not all dealerships lie. Garber certainly doesn’t – it goes completely against the company values that serve as the foundation for all decisions.
Now he can’t say enough good things about Garber.
“I’m really happy at Garber,” he said. “Now that I’m in the industry and with Garber, I don’t have any interest in leaving the industry. Garber is different from any other dealership.”
It was Jeff’s brother that introduced him to the dealership world.
“My brother is in the business; he worked for a dealership,” he said. “They needed someone in Gladwin [Michigan] that could manage the dealership there. I always wanted to move further north and that got me closer to things I liked to do and where I wanted to be. I decided to take the job, and I started at the dealership in 2014/2015 as a general sales manager.”
It wasn’t just the job that appealed to Jeff. It was the location. Jeff, an avid skier, would be closer to colder weather and prime powder.
“At the time, we skied every weekend,” he said. “It was a five-hour drive north and we would go up. My thought process was, ‘If we moved to Gladwin, we’d get to ski more.’ My wife and I are still ski instructors. This will be my 30th year skiing.”
In 2017, Jeff left the dealership. He worked at other dealership locations until 2019. That’s when he got pulled over to Garber.
“I loved Garber’s values from day one,” Jeff said. “Garber’s values set us apart. I worked for other dealerships, and we had our best four months in a row, then they changed my pay plan. With Garber, I’ve never seen that happen. There’s a lot of honesty and trust with Garber that you don’t have with other dealerships.”
Soon after Jeff joined the Garber team, a change in leadership took place. It cemented Jeff’s attitude towards the company – for the better.
“Once Tark [David Tokarsky, General Manager of Garber Chevrolet Linwood] came on board, everything changed. I was thrilled. He came in and was all gung-ho. He saw our potential. People would say, ‘You can’t do that in Linwood; you can’t make money because it’s a smaller dealership.’ Dave came in with the values and said, ‘We are going to follow these processes and we can do this.’ He proved it true.”
Once Jeff made the switch to Garber, he immediately noticed another benefit: the actual benefits.
“I appreciate the benefits here,” he said. “I’ve worked for four dealerships and Garber has the best benefits between the 401(k) match, and then the health insurance. What I pick for insurance here is better than what I’ve had at other places, and I pay less for it.”
At the end of the day, Jeff doesn’t just enjoy working for Garber because of the benefits and pay. It’s about the intangible things that make for a solid quality of life.
“When I decided I had to move on from the other dealership and find my way, I knew I wanted to decrease my stress levels and actually be happy where I worked,” Jeff explained. “When I was working for the other dealerships, I was driving a lot. There was no communication with upper management. Now I’m here at Garber, and I feel included.”
Jeff feels seen and known…not just by the team he works with, but by leadership.
“Dick Garber comes in and he knows my name,” Jeff said. “It’s nice that he cares enough to know our names. What really impressed me when I met Dick is that you feel he cares.That makes me want to work here even more.”
Jeff said Garber’s culture is the perfect blend of work and play.
“While we have fun and laugh, when we do something wrong, we are held accountable and we talk about it,” he said. “I want praise when I do things right, and if I’m not doing something right, I’m told and we talk through how to fix it. And if I disagree, Tark listens. He is someone I can trust. If you don’t know something and he doesn’t know something, he reaches out and asks for help.”
Jeff said a “one for all, all for one” mentality permeates throughout the dealership. It’s another way Garber sets itself apart from other dealerships.
“The culture at Garber is one where everyone works together,” he said. “No other place works together the way we do. Everyone is on the same page and they are willing to help you win. Everyone works together to win.”
First job? Working for an oil company in high school as a stock boy
First car? Ford Mustang. 1984. Red.
Three things you can’t live without? Family, skiing, and snowboarding
What is something people would be surprised to know about you? I have a grandkid. She is six years old and she is a riot. Her name is Chandler.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given and who gave it to you? When I was with the fleet company, there was a guy that was a used car sales manager. He told me no matter what I do, to contact that customer four times a year. It works.