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Rodney Plack didn’t know what to expect when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the business world in March 2020.
Plack has been the general manager of Steve Landers Toyota NWA in Rogers since April 2017 and business had consistently been good and growing. The automobile manufacturers temporarily stopped production, which caused worry, but Plack said the pandemic hasn’t been traumatic for his industry.
“I don’t think anybody in the world knew what was going to happen because it is unknown,” Plack said. “It was slow for about 10 days and then it just cranked right back up. We haven’t missed a beat since.”
Plack said the dealership sold about as many cars in 2020 as it had in 2019, which was a record year for Landers Toyota NWA. Business has increased 400% during the last five years, he said.
Buyers who come to the lot now are more likely to buy quickly because there seems to be a reluctance to price shop at different lots because of the pandemic.
“Fortunately for the people in the car industry, it hasn’t stopped the business at all,” Plack said. “It has made it better because the supply and demand has been there. If they see what they like, they buy it. It has been real smooth, in and out. They don’t hang out and negotiate as much. It has been a fantastic year for us.”
Plack said the main reason Landers Toyota NWA has succeeded is because of the work environment for its 146 employees. Plack said his job is to hire high-quality people and then let them work.
“All I did was surround myself with the best-qualified employees I could find,” Plack said. “People don’t want to leave here. My job is hire, train and retain. Treat them well, pay them well and leave them alone.
“It is more about our employees than our customers. We are all equal. Everyone is treated the same. Everyone feels like an equal partner.”
Plack had worked for Landers in central Arkansas for 26 years before Scott Landers bought the Rogers location. Plack was reluctant to move but is now glad he did. “It is absolutely the best move I have ever made,” Plack said.