Cory Brown, 34
Redline Automotive Inc.
Rapid City, S.D.
When Cory Brown was 25 years old, he made a gamble to buy his first Redline Automotive store. Years later, now president of the company, it’s safe to say the investment paid off.
“After my first few months of running my own store and working crazy hours, I started breaking down the P&L’s from those months and I saw we were paying our bills and making some money. And I thought ‘I can do this! We’re not going to go under! Woo-hoo!’” says Brown.
Brown gets to work early and spends his day making sure the company is performing up to par and, if the situation arises, he says he loves spending time to take care of customer issues.
As one of Brown’s mentors once told him, “To earn respect, you must outwork everyone,” and one of the things keeping Brown motivated to do so are the customers.
“Another thing that really motivates me is our company challenging ourselves, as a group and as a staff, to be the best that we can be at our jobs,” says Brown. “I like the ‘down to earth-ness’ of our industry. You get outside of our business and sometimes people get caught up being pretentious and a little full of themselves and their accomplishments. Everyone I know in this business is approachable and there to get the job done, not to put on a show.”
Staying up to date on the latest trends and industry knowledge is very important to Brown and his team, so he focuses on not only reading up, but also surrounding himself with other successful people. In his words, “Whatever you put into your head tends to come back out.”
“I think it would be foolish for any person to think they have it all figured out,” says Brown. “Our business, just like the rest of life, is ever changing.”
In the future, Brown sees big changes in terms of automation, particularly with driverless cars and trucks as well as the way customers are searching for products to purchase. But he feels that while many things might change, people will always feel more comfortable talking with someone they trust to get tires or fix their car.
“I will continue to do what I love, which is running a tire and repair business and doing side projects,” Brown says. “Hopefully I’m lucky enough to continue that until I can’t anymore.”
Fun Fact: If Brown could meet anyone, living or dead, he would choose Nikola Tesla because he’d “love to pick his brain about physics.”