A 1972 graduate of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Griffis earned a B.B.A. in banking and finance. He spent 12 years working for banks in Mississippi before joining his mother, Jean, at her Ford dealership in Philadelphia, where he established an F&I (Finance & Insurance) department and managed sales.
“I watched my mother become the first female Ford dealer in the southeast in the 1970s,” he said. “She was an enduring inspiration to me because she lived her passion of work and service to our local community through our small-town dealership.”
Today, Griffis Motors is a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram store and the family business continues to thrive as Griffis’ two sons, a niece, an adopted son and his sister all work at the store. “They all have different job duties and are very good at them,” he said. “And I have three grandchildren that I fully expect to be here one day.”
He is also proud of the team of employees he has assembled that performs at a high level. “As a dealership in one of the smallest communities in our state, we have consistently outranked many dealers in our district in larger communities,” Griffis said.
Griffis is an active member of the Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association and has served in several leadership positions, including chair in 2020, vice chair in 2019 and secretary in 2018.
“During my time on the executive committee and as chairman, our organization put together a bill that was passed by both houses and signed by the governor to give Mississippi dealers the same warranty labor and parts reimbursement as 46 other states,” he said. “This initiative has had a positive effect on every dealer in the state.”
Griffis has also made an impact in his community by supporting fundraising efforts and continuing education. “Our dealership has always been a big contributor to our four local schools, from providing driver’s education cars to helping build new scoreboards for their sports teams to sponsoring every kid that comes into the dealership,” he said. “Over the last thirty years, we have also given a $1,000 scholarship to every employee’s child who graduated from high school and continued their education.”
Running a family-owned business in a small market, Griffis is thankful for the opportunity to carry his mother’s legacy and to be an important community partner. “My most rewarding experience has been the opportunity to see my children enter this business and excel in their respective areas of responsibility and in the community – from civic leaders to just great parents,” he said. “This is what makes a dad happy.”
Griffis was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Marty Milstead, president of the Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association. He has two sons.