It’s another afternoon at the Garber-owned Hilton Head Buick GMC Cadillac dealership in South Carolina.
Tony Sundling, sales consultant, is working hard.
With 18 years of sales experience – 12 ½ years here at Hilton Head – he knows what he’s doing. What’s even better? He enjoys it.
But Tony – like many Garber employees – has a family. And when you work at Garber, family comes first.
That’s why Tony is wrapping up a few minutes early today. He needs to take his daughters to a stunting clinic for cheer.
“My girls are almost 14 and 10-and-a-half,” Tony smiled. “They’re big into cheering and tumbling.”
At Garber, it’s OK for Tony to leave early. Wrists aren’t slapped. There are no eggshells to walk on or worry about.
“Garber respects everyone’s family time a lot,” Tony explained. “Whether it is for a kid’s appointment or basketball game or a family matter, they say, ’Don’t worry about it.’ They say that a lot. It’s awesome.”
Tony said that wasn’t his initial impression of the car business.
“Years ago, I remember some people in the industry saying to me, ‘Oh, you don’t want to get in the car business and work late nights; I missed seeing my kids grow up.’ At Garber, it’s no big deal. Here, I don’t miss seeing my kids grow up.”
He also doesn’t miss out on having an enjoyable, successful career. At Garber, Tony gets the best of both worlds.
It’s All in the Details
Tony liked cars before he could even drive.
“At five or six years old, I remember sitting in the back of the station wagon and I could tell my parents what kind of car was behind us on the highway,” he said.
When Tony was in high school, he volunteered at a Ford dealership to fulfill the requirements for a business class. He also got a job detailing cars.
Still, he didn’t picture himself going in the dealership direction.
“I got my degree in Journalism from the University of South California,” he said. “I wanted to get into advertising. That was the plan.”
Though it wasn’t Tony’s chosen career path back then, cars stayed in his life in some capacity. When he was home for the summer from college, he detailed cars at a used car lot.
Tony graduated. After working for his dad’s countertop business and then a cable company, he decided to call the owner of the used car lot.
“I called Mike, who ran the car lot, and I said, ‘Hey, do you need any help?’ and he said, ‘Why don’t you try sales?’ and that was it,” Tony said. “I learned a lot there…just everything about cars. He would send me to the auction and see how everything worked.”
Tony liked car sales from the start.
“I like having somebody different to talk to every day,” he said. “It was interesting. It’s a skill. You have to be a chameleon and relate with people and find that common ground in 5 minutes or less. I liked that.”
Gone were the days of Tony wanting to go into advertising. He had found his career…or rather, it had found him.
Words of Appreciation
Tony sold cars at that dealership for 5 and a half years. He decided it was time for a change.
He worked briefly as an Internet Manager for a Toyota dealership before landing in sales at Hilton Head, where he remains today.
When Garber acquired the dealership, Tony wasn’t worried. In fact, he was ecstatic.
“Garber came in, and it’s been great,” he said. “It’s a team atmosphere. Shane [Shane Gault, General Manager] is great. If someone is not treated right, he will take care of that, whether it’s a customer or fellow worker.”
Tony said he sees that care across the company, all the way up to Dick Garber.
“I like the fact that Dick comes around and walks around talking to everyone,” Tony said. “Last time he was in the dealership, he shook my hand and he gave me a hug. I thought that was pretty cool.”
The appreciation is what sets Garber apart from other workplaces, Tony added.
“They show appreciation,” Tony said. “If Shane thinks I’m doing a good job, he will come and tell me and say, ‘I’m really impressed. I feel like you are doing a great job.’ It’s not just a bunch of BS. You can tell he means it. It makes me feel great. It’s more positive feedback instead of leading with negativity.”
That level of appreciation has positively impacted Tony.
“I’ve grown with Garber because they’ve helped build my confidence as a salesperson,” he said. “By being respected and being told you do a great job, it causes you to stand up taller and talk to everybody. We all love hearing that and appreciate it every time.”
First concert: I went with my mom to The Beach Boys at my high school. It was our first concert
First car: ‘81 Mercury Lynx. It was the first car for my sister, for me….that car went around to six or seven people.
Favorite meal? Eggplant parmesan
Three words to describe your personality? Laidback, easygoing, funny
Bucket list item? Travel across the country and go out west