“My goal personally is 125 new cars a month,” said Graap, who manages the dealership with owner Steve Harrell II. “Just being consistent — we sold 80 last month which I thought was a good first month.”
Last month, Graap said the dealership was the top-selling Nissan dealer in the Tri-Cities, and that before the partners bought the former Tri-Cities Nissan dealership on Jan. 27, it was only selling about 50 cars a month. Graap said they hope to sell 75-100 used cars per month as well.
“Everything is changing,” he said. “It’s just a new everything: New owners, new management, new attitude.”
Graap said there are challenges to taking over a dealership, now named Johnson City Nissan, and trying to increase sales so rapidly, but that he wants customers to “put them to the test.”
Graap, who also owns a dealership in Kennesaw, Georgia, said he hopes to take the model he’s used successfully at his dealership in Oak Ridge, which was the top-selling Nissan dealer in the state last year. He said the key was offering more for trade-ins and cutting prices on new vehicles.
“Everyone is made to do something and you got to find that, and when you’re happy driving in and happy driving home, you’ve won the lotto in my mind,” Graap said of how he got into selling cars. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the journey and finding where you fit.
“I think this is what I was made to do,” he added.
The dealership, located at 3526 Bristol Highway, will hold an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, March 12, at 11:30 a.m. to commemorate the change in ownership.