5 things you didn’t know about JOHN SCARBROUGH

By NIKKI ROWELL,

He is allergic to sunlight. He is a huge Jerry Seinfeld fan. His wife took him to a show in NYC. He played soccer at Mississippi State University for four years. He, his wife and children all have the same taste in music. They went as a family to see U2. He volunteers with Friends of Children’s Hospital and serves on the board.

Clear, simple, different. That’s how Paul Moak Automotive General Manager John Scarbrough describes his team’s approach to the business.

“We just try to be very clear with our communication to customers and let them know what they’re agreeing to and avoiding industry jargon,” Scarbrough said. “Buying most anything from a business should be simple. I regret that car dealerships are typically the exception to this rule. At Paul Moak, we work hard to make the vehicle purchase easy.”

The final piece to their motto is different. “My impression is that we are a little bit different,” he said. “We don’t like pressure. We like for the customer to make the decision in the time that they want in the way that they want. That’s typically reflected in our staff and how they operate.”

“We want folks to feel good about their purchase from us,” he added. “When you combine those few things, it tends to take the pressure off the car buying experience.”

Scarbrough, a Jackson native, was graduated from Jackson Academy and Mississippi State University.

He also earned a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Texas Woman’s University and an master of business administration from Millsaps College. 

He worked as an occupational therapist for four years before he got into the automobile business.

“When I was an occupational therapist, I was working with people all day, helping them get back to independent living,” he said. “When I came into the car business, I thought I might miss that about healthcare, but it turns out it’s the same thing of helping people find solutions for whatever they’re looking for. It’s just different in that I’m addressing transportation issues now.”

At Paul Moak Automotive, they sell three brands Honda, Volvo and Subaru as well as used cars.  They have full service and parts departments as well.

Scarbrough got started at the dealership in 2003.  He and his wife, Jeanne Moak Scarbrough, are third generation owners of Paul Moak dealerships. 

“Jeanne’s grandfather started it in 1946 selling Pontiacs,” Scarbrough said. “Her dad, Paul G. Moak, Jr., has been a part of it since the early ‘70s and comes in every day. Jeanne started in the late ‘90s, and I joined in the early 2000s.”

He worked several different jobs in the company before he took on the General Manager role.

“I was a service advisor first.  Hardest job in the dealership for sure. Working every day with lots of people, lots of schedules, lots of personalities. Quite a lot to manage and stay on top of,” he said.

Then he worked in the business office for several years handling paperwork for customer car deals.  “My second day on the job, my boss came to me and said, ‘You do realize you are responsible for taking payment for vehicles, right?’ I had forgotten to collect the check on a car deal the prior day. Live and learn.”

After that, he worked as the fixed operations manager which means he ran all service, parts and the body shop departments for the company.

As general manager he now oversees all day to day operations of the dealership by relying closely on 14 managers in the company. 

“Personally, I like coming in every day and having this team that we’ve assembled and working with each team member to solve transportation dilemmas for customers and make the operation as smooth as it can be,” Scarbrough said.

“I like that piece of the business of working with our people and trying to produce a business model that customers appreciate and return for.”  

Paul Moak Automotive has 66 employees.  The Moak dealerships have always been in and around downtown Jackson for the most part. 

“We’ve had other brands in other buildings in other locations. But, today, we have all three brands here at High Street in Jackson. We like it. It’s central,” Scarbrough said. “With our brands, we have customers from all over the metro and state. Being central is nice for us. It’s been a good home for us.”

They have lived through floods, fires, hailstorms and recessions. “We’ve been around for a long time. We’re one of the oldest family-owned car dealerships in town. We are thankful for this but don’t take it for granted,” he said.

Scarbrough said that often customers come to the dealership to buy because of their wide selection. 

“We have a lot of loyal customers,” he said. “We have multiple generations of people who have bought from us.  That’s always fun to see.”

But for Scarbrough, his primary focus is not the customer, but his employees. “The Moaks have always tried to treat their employees with the golden rule. Treat others like you want to be treated.  If employees are being treated that way, then by nature they’ll generally treat our customers that way,” he said.

“My job is a lot about molding the people we hire around the culture that we wish our customers to experience.  If I do the right thing for my employees, they will do the right thing for my customers.  It’s the way we’ve done things here for generations,” he added. “It’s just who we are.”

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