<b>WORK IN PROGRESS | </b>Herald staff
Jim Morino, of Edmonds, is owner of Acura of Lynnwood. He has received many prestigious honors for community service and leadership, including Snohomish County Executive of the Year.
Q: When and where did your business open?
A: We opened the dealership in September 1987. (History repeats itself – one month after opening, the stock market had its largest drop since the Depression. Black Monday saw the market lose one-third of its value.)
Q: How, or why, did you decide to open your business?
A: We had a couple other dealerships in Washington and Alaska and were given the opportunity to open Acura here in Lynnwood. Acura is a division of American Honda Motor Company and was 6 months old when we were awarded the Acura franchise.
Q: You recently gave a car to the Lynnwood Police Department for its use. What prompted the gift?
A: We have been involved in every community that we have had a dealership in. We have been very involved in Snohomish County since we opened the dealership in 1987. We have been a member of the Rotary Club of Lynnwood, Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, Volunteers of America, the Edmonds Arts Council and many other organizations. Through Pathways For Women and Clothes For Kids we had learned of the great need for support in our community for women and children. Several years ago the Lynnwood Police Department had a need for a vehicle to be used specifically by the crime prevention unit to offer support to women and children in violent and dangerous situations. We loaned a vehicle to them for this purpose and have continued with the project over the past six years.
Q: What convinced you that this was the job for you?
A: I enjoy cars and I enjoy working with people. It is not often when you get to do what you enjoy. It has been a great career.
Q: What does it take to blend your passion with your livelihood?
A: I have been blessed to not only have a career that I enjoy, but the ability to give back to the community that has helped build our business. I was taught as a child to always give more than you receive and that has seemed to worked well for me over the years. We train and help all of our associates, and as they continue to learn and grow they, too, help others to grow. We all enjoy working with cars so that makes it even more fun to work every day doing what you like to do.
Q: What are the crucial elements for success for your business?
A: We are a people business and so I think one of our greatest elements for our success is our people. We work helping people take care of transportation needs, whether purchasing a new or used vehicle, or the repair of that vehicle. It is not always the most enjoyable experience, and we try to make the experience a lot more enjoyable. We continually train our associates and strive for retention and longevity of those associates to continue to offer our clients a great experience.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how did you meet it?
A: Our greatest challenges are the things we have no control over. Drops in the stock market one month after we opened was a big one. I think one of our biggest and latest challenges was the earthquake in Japan that interrupted supply of vehicles for months. We had to find sources for more used cars as did everyone in the vehicle retail market. That really changed how we bought and sold inventory and how we did business for almost a year.
Q: How did your friends and family react when you told them you were getting into this business?
A: Well I guess every kid doesn’t wake up and tell their mom they are going to be a car salesman. I went back to college to get my finance degree and sold cars to make a living. When I graduated I told my classmates I was going to stay in the car business and they thought I was nuts. But I was doing what I enjoyed, I got to work with a lot of people, and I made a good income. All my classmates have changed jobs a couple times and I continue to do what I enjoy.
Q: What motivates you?
A: Enjoying what I do and helping others.
Q: What personal abilities do you think are needed to excel in this business?
A: Tenacity, hard work, patience, a little insanity and a lot of gin. In the 30 years I have been in this business and the 25 years we have been in Lynnwood, we have been through a lot of economic ups and downs, a lot of regulatory changes, and all the regular situations that one goes through owning a business. I think that if you stick to your goals year after year, work very hard and turn a deaf ear to naysayers, you will accomplish what you set out to do.
Q: When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your time?
A: I enjoy being with my family, skiing, we fish, crab and shrimp, and go to a lot of sporting events.
Acura of Lynnwood
WHERE: 21515 Highway 99