finding Your Way Forward: December 2020

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Helping Others During the Holidays

Marcos Esquivel of Esquivel Auto Depot in Rialto, California has been working at his family’s dealership since he was just a young boy and knows firsthand that the car business can be a roller coaster. Despite this, for the past 10-years, he’s sponsored an annual Christmas event at his dealership to give back to underprivileged families in his local area. Previous events featured a free meal and toys for over 300 families, pictures with Santa Claus and stations for face painting. Unfortunately, like just about everything else, Esquivel had to cancel this year’s event due to COVID. However, he still plans on working with local schools to sponsor three families who’re currently going through a financial hardship so that their Christmas is a little brighter. Esquivel is hopeful that he can resume the event next year, even if means scaling it back to keep everyone safe. “We will hopefully be able to host the event again next year. I like the way everyone gets together and has a good time celebrating with food and family, but we want to make sure that everyone is safe as well.”

Embracing Online Auctions During COVID

Annette Williams at Champ FinancialWhen Annette Williams and her family contracted COVID in May, she had to make some quick business decisions to keep her dealership Champion Financial up and running. “We were already taking precautions to keep ourselves from contracting COVID. I was working remotely from home, handling all the paperwork for the dealership, and my husband was conducting in person business by appointment only. He was the one who started showing symptoms, and we think that it was contracted at the lot. Later, both myself and daughter caught it. Luckily, the symptoms were mild and manageable, and we were very fortunate that we could quarantine at home without having to go to the hospital.”

One of the first changes Williams made was buying inventory exclusively online, “We had already started testing the waters before the pandemic, but we became full-fledged once it started.” She says her husband handles most of the inventory buying for their dealership located in Dolton, IL. “There’s been some challenges with transportation. Before COVID we would usually get the vehicles here within 3 to 4 days but now we have to wait almost 15 days sometimes. I’m guessing it has to do with a lot of other dealers buying online too. But despite the delay, it’s really nice being able to get cars from out of state. Especially with the colder months approaching, it’s convenient and allows us to have more flexibility with our inventory.”

While she’s glad that her dealership is still thriving, she says the biggest lesson she learned during this ordeal is the importance of keeping everyone safe. “Protect yourself, your family and customers. I’ve hired a minority owned business who comes into the dealership two times a week to sanitize. You can’t live off fear, but you need to take the necessary precautions to protect your inner circle and keep your customers safe.”

Community Relations Keeps the Holiday Spirit Going at NextGear Capital

While there will be no Holiday Party at NextGear Capital this year, NextGear Capital’s Community Relations team has come up with some ideas to keep the holiday spirit alive for its team members. Earlier this week, they hosted a virtual holiday card party where participants connected on Teams and listened to holiday music while creating cards for local assisted-living and nursing home residents who’ve been isolated during the pandemic from family and friends. Lauren McNabb, Events and Community Relations Coordinator at NextGear Capital says, “Although it was a virtual event, we hope that by participating, team members felt they were still able to bring holiday joy to those who need it most in our community and also enjoyed chatting with each other while listening to festive music.”

There will also be an opportunity for team members to participate in a Virtual Trivia Night in December where they will have the opportunity to win prizes and are encouraged to wear their ugly holiday sweaters. This is a fundraising event so each team’s entry fees will be donated to Gleaner’s Food Bank.