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Don Brown Jr.
Don Brown Chevrolet Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri
“We support dozens of families through employment and have a meaningful role in so many lives, including a prominent role in our local community and the automotive dealer community.”
“To continue my father’s legacy in this business means everything to me,” nominee Brown said. “We support dozens of families through employment and have a meaningful role in so many lives, including a prominent role in our local community and the automotive dealer community.”
Brown is a 1982 graduate of Lindbergh High School in St. Louis. He earned a degree in automotive marketing at Northwood University in Midland, Michigan, in 1986, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, the Inter-fraternity Council and recipient of the I.W. Thompson Automotive Award for scholastic achievement.
Brown’s father had always owned auto dealerships, and from the time Brown was 10 years old, he would spend Saturdays washing cars at the store. “My dad would bring me into his office for lunch and he would explain the financial statement,” he remembered. “I acquired a love of this business from my father. I would sit back and watch him operate, and learn.”
Working his way through the organization, Brown held many positions, eventually becoming general manager of Don Brown Chevrolet, which was established by his father in 1984, and then dealer principal in 1997. “My father taught me so much, not just about the business, but the people; and not just employees, but the community that he served,” he said. “I learned that you do what you have to do, whether it’s cleaning cars, emptying trash cans or helping a salesperson close a deal.”
His father also instilled in him the value of giving back – to his local area and to his employees. “Throughout my years, I have always felt it was important to be actively involved in the community,” Brown said. “I value and respect my employees and treat them the way I would want to be treated, with an open-door policy.”
To that end, his team jumps into action when someone needs help. “Our store is in close proximity to three children’s hospitals and sometimes parents who drive here from out of state have car trouble,” he said. “When my staff becomes aware of a situation like that we do everything we can to help fix their car so the family can focus on their sick child.”
Brown currently serves on the board of Friends of Kids with Cancer, a St. Louis group that is dedicated to providing educational, emotional and recreational support to children battling the disease and their families. “My involvement with this organization is very meaningful to me,” he said. “To know that this foundation can make a child's life better at the darkest time, not only with recreational support during their long hours of chemo, but also with educational support, is incredibly rewarding.”
In addition, Brown sponsors fundraisers for The BackStoppers, which provides ongoing financial assistance to families of fallen police officers and firefighters. He also supports Crisis Nursery St. Louis; Ronald McDonald House Charities; Fisher House Foundation (provides housing for military and veteran families while loved ones are receiving treatment at military and veterans’ hospitals); American Red Cross (blood drives); Special Olympics Missouri; Stray Rescue of St. Louis; Make-A-Wish; Toys for Tots; St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation; and many others.
For his good works, Brown is most proud of being named the 2017 Neighborhood Business of the Year, Ward 8, by St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “Getting involved in the community and giving back is one of the most rewarding experiences of being a dealer principal in an inner-city location,” he said. “I am a firm believer in paying it forward as I have been blessed in my life.”
Brown was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Doug Smith, president and CEO of the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association. He and his wife, Tracy, have four children.