Mike Darrow, President and chief operating officer, Russ Darrow Group
Company Address: W133 N8569 Executive Parkway., Menomonee Falls (plus 15 dealerships)
Industry: Automotive sales, service, lease and financing
Family: Wife, Jennifer, and three children
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“We shifted our mindset from defense to offense to help create a greater growth mentality among our management team.”
What’s new at your company?
“Most recently we opened a new Mazda dealership on the east side of Madison. Prior to that we completed a ground-up Nissan facility at Metro Auto Mall on the corner of Good Hope Road and Highway 45 (in Milwaukee) and an image facility renovation at our Toyota dealership in West Bend, and we relocated our Kia dealership in Appleton so we could have a larger service department and a body shop to better serve our customers.”
“A new initiative that we recently began is an exclusive partnership with www.autorefinow.com. This program gives us the ability to refinance and reduce the interest rate and payment of existing auto loans for our customers that currently are not in the market for a new or used vehicle. This refinancing option has drawn a great response so far and has helped many of our customers improve the equity in their vehicles.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“Yes to both. We are in the early stages of a major renovation to our Kia dealership on the west side of Madison, and we’ll be opening a new J.D. Byrider dealership in the Green Bay market this fall. In addition to new staff for these projects, we continue to need additional sales staff at all of our dealership locations in order to keep up with our growing sales volume. At Russ Darrow, we are hiring!”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Our challenge in the upcoming year remains sales staffing and training to properly handle our increased sales and service opportunities and continue the year-over-year sales growth that we have been achieving.”
How have you managed to stay in business for almost 50 years?
“We value our relationship with our employees, customers, vendors and the manufacturers that we represent and treat them as partners. Our primary objective then is creating satisfied customers, which results in repeat and referral business.”
How would you describe your corporate culture?
“We are professional, service oriented, quiet but confident, dedicated and disciplined.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“To be the very best in sales, service and personnel.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
“Without customers we don’t exist. Without satisfied customers we don’t survive. We sell and service cars one at a time, belly to belly, face to face, and we must provide the same great level of consistent service every single time.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I enjoy spending time with my wife and kids and participating in recreational activities. And as a fifth generation Wisconsinite, I’m an avid fan of all our local sports teams, festivals and ethnic cuisines.”