Amanda Grappone Osmer is one of a select group of 49 dealer nominees from across the country who will be honored at the 107th annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 3, 2024.
The TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the automobile industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors. The award recognizes the nation’s most successful auto dealers who also demonstrate a long-standing commitment to community service. Osmer was chosen to represent the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association in the national competition – one of only 49 auto dealers nominated for the 55th annual award from more than 16,000 nationwide.
“By far, the most rewarding part of my career has been helping to build a culture that puts team members first,” nominee Osmer said. “Every pay plan, job description, policy, or procedure has the potential to lift our team up and remove barriers that prevent team members from reaching their potential.”
A 1998 graduate of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, where she received a B.A. in Humanities, Osmer also earned an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire, in 2022.
Osmer’s great grandparents, Rocco and Emanuela Grappone, were Italian immigrants who opened a gas station in Concord in 1924. Her grandfather, John Grappone, worked for 79 years to help expand that single business into the Grappone Automotive Group, which today encompasses five New Hampshire dealerships, representing Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, and Toyota, as well as one of northern New England’s largest wholesale parts operations.
“From a very young age, I wanted to spend time with my grandfather at work,” Osmer said. “He was also my neighbor, and even though he was a well-known car dealer who could have driven any car off the lot, he famously walked 3.5 miles to his Ford store each day, a route that took him past our house.”
One day, she accompanied him on his trek to John Grappone Ford in Bow, New Hampshire, and was enamored with the entire Grappone experience. She started working in the dealership at age 16, filing, delivering mail and picking up summer afternoon ice cream orders. After college, Osmer apprenticed with Mazda and Toyota Technicians and eventually moved into sales, parts, and service, gaining an understanding of the entire dealership operation from the ground up.
To prepare for future management roles, Osmer completed leadership training through Chrysler and at the NADA Academy. She spent two years as a sales consultant for Lexus of Marin in San Rafael, California, to observe the workings of a publicly held dealership.
All of her education and experiences helped Osmer shape her management philosophy of building lifelong relationships with team members, guests, and the community by serving with integrity, kindness, and respect. She was asked to share this leadership ideology at a TEDx conference in 2014.
Osmer incorporates her principles into the day-to-day management of the Mazda store. When building the new Retail Evolution dealership in 2023, she included a second floor gathering space that’s open to community groups free of charge. Called the Kintsugi Room, it is a meeting space designed to bring out creative and collaborative ideas that will make New Hampshire a better place. In 2018 she also instituted Leadership Grappone, a nine-month leadership intensive that is open to any team member.
“The program teaches mindfulness, interpersonal communication skills and techniques designed to help participants be more resilient and thoughtful in their personal and professional interactions,” she said. The experience is capped off with a physical challenge event such as an overnight hike or a half marathon.
An important voice for car dealers and the auto industry, Osmer has served on the New Hampshire New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board (appointed by the Governor and Executive Council) and is currently a member of the Ford Motor Company Global Dealer Roundtable.
“I’m in my third year of service with this esteemed group and it has been rewarding to learn from my fellow dealers from all over the world,” she said. “I led a team from France, Mexico, India, and the United States on a project related to technician recruitment and retention, and Ford immediately enacted some of our suggestions across its U.S. network.”
With such deep roots in the Concord area, Osmer and the Grappone family have contributed greatly to the local community. She is most proud of co-founding the Dewey School, a nature-based preschool located on the grounds of the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hampshire.
“We have served more than 140 children and families across New Hampshire since 2018. Our school blends nature, play and collaborative learning into its curriculum,” she said. “We committed Grappone resources to create this learning experience that instills autonomy, confidence and a love of nature in our youngest citizens.”
Osmer has lent her time and talent to numerous boards and committees including New Hampshire Public Broadcasting Service, Take the Wheel NH, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, New Hampshire Council for Thriving Children and New Hampshire Scholars.
She encourages her team to get involved in community outreach and offers each team member a paid day for volunteering at a local nonprofit, as well as providing a $250 donation from the dealership to the organization in the team member’s honor.
Other groups that she supports include the Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire (Walk a Mile in Their Shoes fundraiser), Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire, Lakes Region Conservation, Gregory J. Grappone Humanities Institute at Saint Anselm College and Beverly D. Grappone Hall at NHTI-Concord’s Community College (home to the school’s nursing program).
For her good works, Osmer has received numerous awards and recognitions, most recently the 2023 Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year.
Dealers are nominated by the executives of state and metro dealer associations around the country. A panel of faculty members from the Tauber Institute for Global Operations at the University of Michigan will select one finalist from each of the four NADA regions and one national Dealer of the Year. Three finalists will receive $5,000 for their favorite charities and the winner will receive $10,000 to give to charity, donated by Ally.
In its 13th year as exclusive sponsor, Ally also will recognize dealer nominees and their community efforts by contributing $1,000 to each nominee’s 501(c)3 charity of choice. Nominees will be recognized on AllyDealerHeroes.com, which highlights the philanthropic contributions and achievements of TIME Dealer of the Year nominees.
“At TIME, we are proud to uphold the decades-long tradition of honoring automotive dealers who make a positive impact and show dedication to their communities through our TIME Dealer of the Year award,” said TIME CEO Jessica Sibley. “We are excited to keep this tradition of applauding these community contributions together with our partners at Ally.”
Doug Timmerman, president of dealer financial services, Ally, said, “Auto dealers nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to not only the industry but to their respective communities through volunteerism, sponsorships, and supporting charitable causes, no matter the market climate. Whether their clients are purchasing a first car or upgrading for a growing family, these selected dealers have successfully extended their relationships beyond the showroom and have been steadfast in driving their communities forward.”
Osmer was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Dan Bennett, president of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association. She and her husband Thomas have three children.