“Everybody said, ‘There is no way that you will make it.’ He couldn’t even go to the bank and borrow money because nobody believed in him,” said son Scott Crump, who completed the buyout of the business from his father in 2005.
John Crump, who is now retired, proved his critics wrong long ago.
This month, Scott Crump Toyota Scion is celebrating 40 years in business, which makes it the second oldest Toyota dealership in the state.
It has also been consistently recognized as one of the best.
Last August, Scott Crump Toyota was the top-selling Toyota dealership in its 14-store district and was named the number one Toyota dealership in the 174-store Southeast region for exceeding its annual sales goal by 34.3 percent.
This January marked three years since Scott Crump Toyota relocated from its longtime location on Viking Drive to a 43,000 square foot facility on Highway 78.
Crump said he is often asked how the dealership has continued to thrive during the recession when others its size struggled and often folded.
“The only way I know how to answer that is that when times were tough, we have good Christian employees who continued to tithe. We continued to put God first and do the things that He wants us to do,” Crump said.
Crump also credited his employees with caring for their co-workers and customers as much as their own families.
General manager Glenn Barton said he believes the Crump family’s committment to the community is also an important factor in the dealership’s success.
Scott Crump Toyota sponsors charitable events such as an annual breast cancer crawfish boil and also makes numerous donations throughout the year to local nonprofits, sports teams and individuals in need.
“As successful as they are, they could have gone anywhere, but they choose to stay here,” Barton said.
Donnie Jones is one of Scott Crump Toyota’s loyal customers.
His first purchase was a gold 1972 Corona with no air conditioning. Jones has owned numerous other Toyotas over the years, and now his daughter drives one as well.
“The slogan they have is so true. They’ll do whatever it takes to get your business,” he said.
While the Crumps’ ties with Toyota go back 40 years, the family has been in the car business for more than six decades.
Hollis and Elizabeth Crump opened a used car lot in Jasper in 1947. Hollis Crump died in 1963 when his son, John, was 16.
Scott Crump began working for his father when he was 11 years old. His first job was picking up litter for 25 cents an hour.
He gained experience in parts, service and accounting departments and began selling cars when he was 16. He moved up the ranks from used car manager to sales manager and then general manager by the time he was 21.
When John Crump opened a local Toyota dealership in 1972, many of his models cost approximately $2,000. Today, one of the cars on the showroom floor costs nearly $80,000.
Scott Crump said although times and the business itself have changed over the past 40 years, the basic principles it was founded on remain the same.
“If you’ve got a good product with good service at a fair price, people will come see you,” Crump said.