The Dealer for the People, from Auto Dealer Monthly.
Jill Merriam, the co-owner and COO of Key Hyundai, with locations in Manchester and Milford, Conn., bills herself as the “Dealer for the People.” And it’s more than a tagline. Merriam — along with her brother, Jeffrey, who is the second co-owner — has structured her entire business around that core ideal.
Understanding Merriam’s philosophy requires knowing more about where she came from. While her family has been in the car business since the 1950s, she says that, growing up, she was certain she would do something else. She studied economics in college and entered the competitive world of high-stakes corporate finance. She wound up working at Microsoft, where none other than Bill Gates inspired her to change careers.
“When I was sitting in a meeting with Bill Gates — and there were probably 30 or 40 people, but I had prepared all the financials — I was thinking, ‘I don’t need to do this. My family has this amazing business. I understand the business side of it now, and I could partner with my brother and make a difference in our lives and the community, and have control over my life.’”