Page Larson wouldn’t describe herself as a car person.
“I absolutely did not see myself in this industry,” she laughed. “Nowadays, people will talk to me about cars, but I’m not honestly a car person. I’m a people person.”
Larson, Owner Loyalty Manager of Garber-owned Nissan of Bradenton in Florida, is walking proof that you don’t need to love cars in order to love your job in the automotive industry – especially at Garber.
That’s because Page and Garber share the same top priority: people.
“I give everyone a tour of our dealership on the first day; it is one of my favorite things to do,” she explained. “Our company is a company that empowers people and believes in training them to make them better employees and people. The way we are treated here is so respectful.”
No, Larson didn’t initially see herself in the automotive industry. But now that she’s here at Garber, she doesn’t want to leave.
Finding the Right Fit
When it comes to career paths, Page is a black sheep of sorts.
“I would have never imagined working in this role or this industry,” she laughed. “My whole family is into the arts. My sister is an art educator; my father was a theater professor. I’m the odd ball out.”
On a quest to carve her own way, Page earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She gained sales experience working in retail management (“Girly stuff,” Page said, “like Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret”) and planned on staying in that industry.
Then a friend pointed her towards the automotive world.
“A friend of mine was the service manager here, and she was like, ‘Have you ever considered being a service advisor?’” Page explained. “I was like, ‘Hm…it’s sales. The hours are much better than retail.’ So I gave it a go…but it wasn’t for me.”
Page jumped towards a new industry and joined the Bradenton dealership, but the role wasn’t the right fit for her skills and passions. Page thought about leaving.
In 2013, a new position opened up at the dealership: one that felt much more in line with Page’s career goals.
“Nissan wanted someone to serve as the customer advocate and identify strengths and opportunities within our processes,” she said. “Our General Manager was like, ‘You’d be perfect for this role.’ The concept of the role was what made me want to stay. Those were the things that I found I loved about retail: treating people right and making people happy.”
Now with her new role, Page had found a better fit. It’s the role she excels at to this day.
But more changes were on the horizon – both personally and professionally – that would further Page’s life path even more.
Change, Change, Change
Page’s life had changed in a big way. She had just had a baby. But maternity leave was ending, and it was time to come back to work.
Then she got some more big news.
“A week before I was planning on coming back to work, I got a call that I was going to be finishing up my maternity leave and within that same month, we were going to be purchased by Garber,” Page said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to leave my job, I have a new baby, this is terrifying. I am terrified.’”
But Page quickly learned that change can be a good thing.
“My first introduction to Garber was Billy Buechel [General Manager] and Scott Ellsworth [Garber consultant] walking into service – it still gets me emotional — and they knew my name, they introduced themselves,” Page said with tears in her eyes. “Mr. Garber came in and took the time to meet with everyone. It was absolutely mind-blowing. And we kept pinching ourselves being like, ‘When is this going to turn real? What’s the catch?’ Everyone was so kind.”
When asked what changed when Garber acquired the dealership, Page had an easy answer.
“Everything changed when the transition happened with Garber,” she said. “I get teary about it. It has been a game changer. I always tell our customers that Garber didn’t acquire us, they adopted us. We were taken in, and that’s really important.”
She said appreciation, respect, and communication are top priorities that have made a noticeable difference in the dealership culture and her life.
“There is not a week that goes by, or a day even, where I don’t get a thank you or an ‘I appreciate you’ or ‘You’re doing a great job’,” she said. “We all need that, and we get it with Garber. The way we are treated is so respectful. Working for Garber has absolutely changed the quality of my life. It’s huge.”
Garber also prioritizes growth and support.
“Training is huge here,” she said. “This company spends so much energy in making sure that you are trained and feel confident in what you are doing. It’s building value in yourself too. We are building leaders every day. You can go as far as you want to go here.”
Page said she’s not a morning person. But the mornings aren’t so bad these days. Neither are the nights.
“When I go home, I don’t take all of this stress and frustration with me because I don’t have it here at Garber,” she said. “Being able to spend quality time with my husband and child and not having to have that monkey on my back is life-changing. I’m not a morning person at all, but I walk through these doors and I don’t mind coming to work here. I don’t wake up thinking, ‘Oh man, I have to go to work today.’ I’m proud of the company I work for, and I’m happy here.”
First concert? No Doubt
First car? A teal Mazda 323 and I have no idea what the year was. It was an old car.
Favorite meal? My mom’s Thanksgiving casserole
Three words to describe your personality? Passionate, fun-loving, hand-talker/expressive
Bucket list item? Take my husband to Italy