We’ve all heard the unfortunate stereotype of women getting ripped off by mechanics due to their lack of car expertise. But Deana Eckman and her daughter, Shelley Whitney, have run that stereotype off the road by keeping their Oregon auto business afloat, even through the Recession. These inspiring ladies operate Deana’s Auto Biz out of a tiny, two-room office, along with their loyal associate, Marley the dachshund.
While the business is small, it has held steady in the blue-collar town of Pendleton, in spite of local economic stagnation. Deana and Shelley have good business sense, and they aren’t in a hurry to grow their business too large, too fast. They currently sell about 100 pre-owned cars every year, and relationships are a key factor in their success.
The women like to get to know each customer personally, and provide authentic, excellent customer service. They have also cultivated good relationships with area mechanics and parts dealers. These relationships come in handy, since Deana’s Auto Biz only sells the cars, and doesn’t have a repair department.
The car business is no walk in the park, but the ladies are sticking around so that they can meet the residents’ transportation needs. (There are no new car dealerships left in Pendleton.) Deana and Shelley keep their overhead low, and their friendships strong. Deana knows that it’s important to keep up with the market, and with lenders who will finance buyers with less-than-perfect credit.
Good job, ladies! You are truly an inspiration.
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