(Photo above left) A Mark of Excellence Award recipient for the third year in a row reflects Santa Paula Chevrolet’s standing in the top 10 percent of the nation’s almost 5,000 GM dealerships. Making sure the Mark of Excellence continues left to right are: Mike Greenslit (General Sales Manager); Bill Edwards (Service Director); Jason Pierce (Sales Manager); Gabriel Aguilar (Sales Manager); John Macik (General Manager, Vice President); Sandra Macik (Inventory Manager). Above (right) is an artist rendering of the new facade at Santa Paula Chevrolet. Construction will begin soon.

Santa Paula Chevrolet: Macik’s history pays off with dealership honors

February 08, 2012
Santa Paula News

As a 17-year-old just out of school he sold his first Chevrolet, an Impala John Macik drove all the way from his native Pennsylvania to California. Now, Dealer/Operator Macik is at the helm of the most honored dealership in the country, Santa Paula Chevrolet, a $50 million a year company which last year had a $4 million payroll.

Macik is celebrating his 20th year with the West Harvard Boulevard dealership where he’s still selling Chevrolets, albeit under much different circumstances than 1974 when he arrived in California at the wheel of that Impala. After working at various dealerships, Macik joined Santa Paula Chevrolet August 21, 1993 - almost 20 years after he sold his first car - and shortly thereafter was mentored by an established figure in the industry.

“The best part for me has been the customer, the people and personalities, solving their transportation needs,” said Macik. “Every transaction, every vehicle, every trade-in is different, and the personal relationships are all different... it’s fun, a lot of fun.”

Sales have a particular place in Macik’s affections: “For me that’s the best part in the business... the hours are flexible and you can make as much money as you want.” And if you’re any good at it you get promoted, something Macik started to become accustomed to while still in his early 20s.

As a sales manager he found satisfaction in creating good teams by developing the skills of others, while able to bypass “doing any of the things you didn’t like as a salesman because you’re the boss.” And then with another promotion Macik became that boss’ boss, and he enjoyed the challenge of making managers better at improving sales associates, “all for the end result - to take better care of customers.”

Promoted to general sales manager, Macik found, “That’s when it stops from being as much fun... always putting out fires,” and propelling Macik to Santa Paula Chevrolet. “I told myself if I ever got to have my own dealership I would do it my way, not the usual way,” a vow fulfilled. “I had to do my own thing, and now I’m able to do it exactly how I want to do it,” which brought Santa Paula Chevrolet much success.

A Mark of Excellence Award recipient for the third year in a row reflects Santa Paula Chevrolet’s standing in the top 10 percent of the nation’s almost 5,000 GM dealerships. All criteria must be met to garner the award - sales, service, customer satisfaction, market penetration, and certification of service employees.

Macik said it takes almost a year of schooling for certification that pays off for owners of all makes and models of vehicles that Santa Paula Chevrolet services, whether mechanically or in the body shop that accepts all insurers. Santa Paula Chevrolet also ranks 168th in the nation - the top five percent - for Chevrolet sales. 

Also a matter of pride to Macik is, “We have 71 families we are feeding, we can support families and charities in the community... and we doubled our size in two years,” held steady during the economic downturn and “did twice the business in 2011 than we did in 2009.” Macik noted the dealership has a “very, very low turnover” of employees, some “with us as long as I’ve been here... or longer,” a majority with Santa Paula Chevrolet for more than a decade.

And that includes Sandra Macik, John’s wife, who has been with Santa Paula Chevrolet for 17 years and handles all new inventory. “Sandra orders every new car” to exacting and different specifications, more than 1,000 to choose from, “one by one. That’s picking the vehicles, the packages, the options, the colors... that’s a big job,” in addition to dealer-trading to locate any car requested by a customer and handling courtesy and fleet deliveries. 

The philosophy of detailed and consistent customer service has paid off with an estimated 90 percent customer return rate, with some families boosting three generations of dealership patronage. “We’ve marketed ourselves consistently for the last 20 years, done a good job of getting our name and logo out and sold a lot of vehicles... even when people move out state they’ll come back to buy from us,” said Macik. 

“It’s because of the way we treat people and our reputation,” which Macik said took two decades to build “and only takes 10 minutes to destroy. We’ve always treated people good, give them an honest deal with no haggling... now with the buzz we’re getting, people expect that.”

One thing customers may not be aware of is their support of Santa Paula Chevrolet means support of a variety of charities, donating, “because it’s the right thing to do and it feels good to help the community.” Macik is especially supportive of youth activities and the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, Santa Clara Valley Hospice, and the Santa Paula Police & Fire Foundation.

With the strengthening economy, Macik must balance the rising demand for new cars with dealership improvements - ranging from new signage and enlarged display areas to new interior/exterior lighting. There will also be an expanded footprint with the acquisition of adjacent property for the sale of used vehicles.

Santa Paula Chevrolet has expanded Saturday service hours to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., “very popular” with customers and service technicians alike. The Sales Department is also expanding under new General Sales Manager Michael Greenslit of Ojai, a veteran of the business since 1979.

Macik is proud that Santa Paula Chevrolet is “family owned and operated,” and he is on site almost every day. “We really care about our community and our reputation, and are committed to doing what is right,” reflected by its Better Business Bureau A+ rating.

“We know our community, our customers and our product,” and provide those who purchase vehicles “a friendly, knowledgeable, courteous and professional staff.... We have a large selection of new Chevrolets,” an inventory that averages about 400 a day, and “GM Certified Pre-Owned vehicles. If we don’t have the vehicle that you are looking for, we will get it for you at no additional charge.”

The dealership is noted for its low prices, “Every day is a sale day,” said Macik. And due to the high volume of sales, Santa Paula Chevrolet can offer diverse finance options at the best rates from many lenders for all credit profiles.

Santa Paula Chevrolet will deliver your new or Certified Pre-Owned vehicle right to your front door; the dealership sells and services all makes and models, and all pre-owned vehicles go through the same rigorous 172-point inspection and reconditioning process as the GM program before appearing for sale.

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