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So Smart ! All Woman Used Car Dealer Rocks!

Published Jan 20th 2007, 5:21pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Usedcargirl MANITOWOC — As a psychology major, Jenny Jeffery, 22, enjoys offering some friendly advice when she's selling used cars at her dad's lot, Righteous Cycle & Auto, 2716 Manitowoc County CR.

"Sometimes, I tell people you get counseling here, too," said Jeffery, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

"I ask about lifestyle factors," she said. "If the young woman is a mom with kids that need to go into car seats in the back, I'll ask, 'Is a two-door car really the right one for you?'"

After earning her bachelor's degree she intends to pursue a master's degree in social work. "Ten years from now, I'd like to be a licensed clinical social worker and have my own used car lot on the side," she said.

If those dreams are accomplished, she would be a member in a small sorority.

A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association said a quick review of its membership roster showed only one used-car dealership owner who's a woman.

"Without my dad, I wouldn't know anything," Jeffery said of her father, Bob Jeffery, who has been repairing Harley-Davidson motorcycles and selling used cars for nearly 20 years as a licensed dealer.

In addition to his daughter, he has two other women who are part of his all-female crew selecting, prepping and selling the approximately 40-car inventory on the lot they opened a year ago.

Pam Waak, 47, is the one with the expertise who helps prescreen which autos she'll recommend Bob Jeffery buy at the weekly Badger State Auto Auction in Fond du Lac.

"If the tranny (transmission) fluid smells like smoky barbecue, that's a sign of an abused engine," Waak said. "We'll stomp on the brakes and see how they sound."

Once father, daughter and Waak decide, as a team, which used cars to try and resell, Jamie Risch, 22, goes into action.

"We clean, clean, clean," said the childhood friend of Jenny who spends many hours detailing and prepping the car inside the garage before it goes outside for sale.

"Personally, I think that the girls are more particular than guys are about cleanliness," Bob Jeffery said. "They notice every little thing."

Waak is the one who dispenses practical advice to buyers about weekly checks of the car's various fluids, including oil, transmission and brake. "If the warning light comes on, it's too late," she said.

While Risch doesn't have her seller's license, the other three do. Jenny Jeffery sells to young adults, "while I sell to their parents," Waak said, with Bob Jeffery, 58, adding, "and I sell to the grandmas."

Jenny Jeffery said the three most common questions, usually from first-time buyers, are, "What's your cheapest car? How does it run? Is there anything wrong with it?"

If Waak and Bob Jeffery didn't believe the car would be fairly reliable, they said they wouldn't buy and resell it. If they were selling lemons, word would spread quickly, they said.

Most of the time, they also are willing for prospective buyers to not only go on a test drive but to borrow the car long enough to have an independent mechanic inspect it.

So while cars are sold "as is," Bob Jeffery said, "we aren't guaranteeing the car, but if you have a problem, come and talk with us. We'll work something out to keep you satisfied."

by Charlie Mathews
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

Charlie Mathews writes for The Herald Times Reporter of Manitowoc.

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