OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE Illinois Automobile Dealers Association

Pub. 10 2020 | Issue 4


Dealer Profile: Kathy Federico


Kathy Federico
Jack Schmitt Chevrolet

Kathy Federico started working at the family dealership in 8th grade. She answered the telephone on Saturdays and worked in the accounting office during the summer.

When asked about her favorite part of being a car dealer, she said, “The car business is something new every day … it’s never boring. I love meeting all of the people we interact with and being involved in our community. Also, I met my husband in the car business, so that was an added bonus!”

The biggest challenge she has experienced in the car business is when the recession hit. “We had to reinvent ourselves to work through lack of sales and a terrible economy. I think the experience taught me that we need to have the ability to regroup and respond quickly to whatever situation arises. I think during COVID we changed processes almost daily to keep everyone safe and make customers comfortable knowing that they would not get sick from doing business with us.”

When asked what she foresees as being the biggest obstacle ahead for dealers. Federico said, “Everything in our industry is changing rapidly and many disrupters have been cropping up. Many customers want to do business in a different way, including buying vehicles completely online and having the vehicles delivered to their homes. Also, the manufacturers are putting more and more requirements on the dealer. It is important that our franchise act remains strong to
protect all dealers from manufacturer overreach.”

We asked Federico what it means to her to work day by day with her dad and to continue as a member of the next generation at the dealership. She says, “It has been a blessing to work with my dad every day. In addition to my dad, my brother, my husband and our kids are all in the car business. It is great to have three generations to bounce ideas off of and receive support from. Family businesses can be tough because parents want and expect the best from their kids. My dad has allowed me enough latitude and guidance to succeed, as well as reassurance that things will be fine when the business hits a rough patch. He’s seen so much in his time as a dealer, he always adds
perspective for me.”

The Illinois Automobile Dealers Association

This story appears in Issue 4 2020 of the Illinois Automobile Dealer News.

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