LANCASTER – As the general manager of a car dealership, James Clark certainly has a lot of responsibilities.
âI oversee, of course, the entire dealership,â he said. “New and used car sales, service, parts, advertising. Just the day-to-day running of the store.”
Clark is the General Manager of Coughlin Kia of Lancaster at 2784 N. Columbus St. He was previously the Managing Partner of Matt Taylor Kia of Lancaster before the Coughlin Group recently purchased the dealership. He has worked for the Kia brand for 18 years and in the automotive industry for a total of 37 years.
âWhen I graduated from college, my brother lost his job and went to work in a car store,â Clark said. “I went to meet them one day and told them I was going to give it a try. I’ve been doing it ever since. I started selling cars in Bedford, Ohio.”
While car sales are inherently stressful, the Chagrin Falls native said he loves what he does.
âThere isn’t a day when I go to work that I dread going to work,â he said. “I’ve always loved what I’ve done in the automotive industry, whether it’s selling cars or doing finance, being a sales manager or general sales manager. I always look forward to coming to work.”
Clark said it’s because he spends quality time with people. Oddly enough, he said he wasn’t much of a car enthusiast.
âNot at all,â Clark said. âI don’t know a lot about cars. I know I love cars. I don’t know a lot about cars but I know a lot about people. I always say Lancaster is the biggest little town. America and the people are the nicest people. I’ve never met a foreigner in Lancaster, Ohio. “
Clark lived here for four years and is heavily involved in the community, including with the Lancaster Festival, the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and the Fairfield Medical Center, among others.
With all of his job responsibilities, Clark said time management is crucial, along with planning and accessibility to his employees and customers.
âIt’s important for our store to have a family-like atmosphere, which we do,â he said. “When you instill such a culture, it takes a lot of dedication not only to your employees but also to your customers. I have this philosophy that I live that if my employees are happy, then our customers certainly will be.”
Even though he is the Managing Director, Clark said he will never stop dealing with his clients in a personal capacity.
âYou might have a guest walking through the door who has a problem with a car and a problem with the service and they want to speak with me and no one else,â he said. âYou really have to make yourself accessible to customers all around. “
Outside of work, Clark enjoys golf, travel and gardening.