Blog Archives

Camera, Cars and a Banjo

If you stopped by Grappone Toyota yesterday around 3 p.m. you might have noticed a photographer in the middle of the showroom. You would have also heard 4th generation owner, Amanda, playing the banjo.

No, Amanda is not going to be featured in a banjo magazine. Yes she really does play the banjo – she started about six weeks ago.

 

Why the photographer you ask?

Toyota Today magazine sent him. Grappone Toyota will be featured in the January – February edition.  You are probably wondering what the article will be about. Well, we can tell you this:

-They took a group photo of Grappone team members.

-They took some photos of our meditation room.

-Some great shot of Amanda with her banjo.

-They took pictures of our Upfront Prices on the vehicles which come with a negotiation free buying process.

 

We are excited to read the article when it is published. Are you?

 

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One Minute Vacations

Today’s thought, inspired by a morning run in the woods with my dogs, is that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I found myself thinking that it would be great to have more time for a vacation so I could enjoy our beautiful surroundings.  Then I caught myself and realized that if I think only in terms of either “I’m at work” or “I’m on vacation” then I’m REALLY missing out.

So I decided that I am going to take a series of one minute vacations to appreciate all the wonder and beauty that surrounds us each and every day.  Today I’ve already seen three orange leaves slowly making their way from the top of a maple tree to the ground where they’ll stay until they turn back into the earth that will make a new maple tree.

This vacation required no planning, was free, and provides me a memory for at least as long as it will take for me to find another vacation destination :)

Where have you gone on vacation today?

And now for the request: are any of you involved in your community’s Rotary or other similar clubs?  I’ve asked Vickie to schedule me at as many area breakfast/lunch meetings as possible so I can start to spread the word about what makes Grappone so very different.  If you think your local club wouldn’t mind having me come talk to the crowd please let Vickie know ([email protected]).

Thanks for listening :)
Amanda

Grappone Goes to Google

So it’s been the kind of two days that will continue to teach and resonate for some time to come.  I feel very fortunate to have been involved in the two-day Wisdom 2.0 Business conference in New York City this week.  I’m on the train home (great way to get to NYC for anyone who needs to make the trip – free wireless!) and have some time to reflect.

In fact, the topic of reflection was a main theme for just about all the speakers over the last two days.  The essential message of the conference was this: without practicing mindfulness in our workplaces, we are limiting our own potential, and the potential of our teams.

Well, what is mindfulness anyway?  In a nutshell, it is the ability to remain “in the moment” and to observe your thoughts and reactions without judgment.  Imagine how differently we would interact with one another if we all practiced mindfulness.

At the conference we heard from several very interesting speakers.  The ones you may have heard of are actress Goldie Hawn, Congressman Tim Ryan, and Arianna Huffington. The founders of Kickstarter and Meet Up were there, as well as the CEOs of Aetna and Etsy.  For me as an owner, it was great to hear them speaking from the heart about the challenges of leading mindfully.  It also inspired me to commit to a more regular practice; I know that a commitment to being more present for my family and my team at work will lead to better results than if I don’t.

The meeting was hosted by Google and their Chief Evangelist of Google Plus, who has put yoga in the workplace on the map, had a great suggestion: commit to 60 seconds of mindfulness each day.  Anyone can do that. Just notice your breath as it is breathed in and out, and feel your body and mind start to relax.  To keep the thoughts from taking over and distracting you from the exercise, say something like “breathing in” on the in breath and – you guessed it!  See, you’re great at this – “breathing out” on the out breath.  Give it a try.  The next time you’re feeling anxious or angry, try to remind yourself that you have this tool at your disposal.  It’s free, and no one even needs to know you’re doing it!
In a totally unrelated topic, it was great to be in the city and experience the great food, a run in Central Park, and a Bikram yoga class.  I feel blessed to have an amazing team in Bow who are living the Grappone mission so I can take the time away from the office to meet like-minded business people and expand my own knowledge. Thank you, team.  You are the best.

Does anyone who’s reading know about mindfulness?  I’d love to hear your story.

Be well,
--Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner

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Boat To Work Day

On Sunday about 20 of us paddled to work from NHTI.  Dave Stickney from Toyota sales found a rope swing and provided me with an excellent shot!

This is the first time that we had reps from every store join us.  It was a blast!

We rented kayaks and canoes for anyone who needed them, and some people brought their families and friends.  It was such a great way to start the day and when we got to work we saw our advertisement in the Concord Monitor of….a woman kayaking!  Wish I’d had a paper with me on the river.  Next time!
We had both bald eagle and great blue heron sightings on the river. It was really cool!
When we arrived at Toyota (there’s a dock on the Turkey River just behind our Toyota store) Jonathan Morton from Ford was waiting for us with scrambled eggs, home fries and sausage.  What a hero!!  He’d been grilling the whole time we were out on the river.  Thank you Jonathan!

I love my team :)

-Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner

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Being Kind

I was chatting with one of our new (two weeks ago) team members this morning and going through Grappone family history.  When I told him that the most important part of my job is to create a safe, stable work environment in which my team has all the tools and resources it needs to do its job well, he said this: “My wife told me that I’m a different person at the end of the day coming home from Grappone than from my last job.”  He said he isn’t used to having an employer that cares about him.

This is really sad to me.  It’s not any harder to be kind, but for some reason kindness doesn’t seem to make the cut when it comes to making a list of traits that define how businesses should be run.

Thank you to all the leaders out there who know that there is a better way, and who pursue it in all that they do. Your teams appreciate it!

 

-Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner

Pinnacle Award

On Friday, May 24, Grappone Automotive Group was awarded the Business of the Year Pinnacle Award from the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.

This award is a true honor and we are very grateful to have been chosen. Every day we live out our Mission Statement and work towards our Vision Statement.

4th generation owner, Amanda Grappone Osmer, accepted the award during the luncheon at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.

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Chatting It Up At The Sandwich Depot

I was at the Sandwich Depot enjoying a breakfast taco this morning (very yummy, just so you know!) and heard some customers chatting with Nancy behind the counter about their experience at Grappone Ford.  They drove all the way from Amherst to purchase from us and I had a chance to chat with them about why they made the drive.  I am always so impressed with our team in sales and service when I meet people who travel from great distances to visit us. I love my team!  Ray is pictured here filling out his Ford survey (no joke!)…hats off to his salesperson Diana Hildreth for her excellent service.

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-Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner

Social Responsibility

Last night I had a chance to meet with several South Koreans who have been brought here by the United States government to learn about how we approach Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in this country. The guests ranged from social workers to human rights activists to a manager from Hyundai Steel who heads up their CSR efforts (Hyundai Motor is another division of the Hyundai family; Hyundai and Samsung are, in Korea, major contributors to the country’s economy.)

My neighbors hosted the dinner and I was so proud to be chosen to participate from among all the many wonderful NH business leaders who focus their efforts on creating a better society through their business activities.  It was especially nice to have my dad, Bob Grappone, join me.  Since he retired from the day-to-day five years ago I don’t get to talk much shop with him.

There were so many interesting conversations throughout the few hours we had together but this one stands out: one of the women asked, through an interpreter, if it would be OK to ask my dad what he thinks about me taking over the family business (it’s quite rare in South Korea for a woman to have such a high ranking position).  Dad said something that I’ll never forget, and which I hope to be able to say of my children if they ever join the family business as the fifth generation of Grappones to do so.  He said, “I think Amanda’s passion for the customer is even greater than mine.”  Now, if you know my dad you know what a profound compliment this is.  My dad is legendary for being fair, compassionate, and kind, both as an employer and as a community member.

So thank you to the US Government for bringing me together with Dad, my wonderful neighbors, and new friends from South Korea.

-Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner

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American Cancer Society

I got involved with the New England CEOs Against Cancer Group two years ago.  Their aim is to enlist owners of larger businesses to help spread the word about cancer prevention and the support services they have for those with cancer or their caregivers.

I jumped at the chance to be involved; our family has a history of having to deal with cancer and, most recently, my brother Greg has been battling a rare form of t-cell lymphoma.

I do feel a responsibility to deliver a safe, stable work environment for our team, so partnering with the ACS was an easy decision: they have spent years educating people on ways to prevent cancer (most notably a very successful anti-smoking effort) and I welcome their passion for wellness into our workplace.

If the efforts of Grappone Automotive work to educate our team, guests, or community, I feel we’re acting in accordance with my family’s personal mission statement.

 

-Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner

Thoughts From 40,000 Feet

Today I’m writing from an altitude of about 40,000 feet. I’m on my way to Texas for a meeting and thought it would be a fantastic time to catch up on a couple of books I’ve started but never finished, instead my brain is tossing about some weighty concepts:

How does Grappone ensure that it’s living out its mission statement each day?
In what way does working for my family’s company make a positive difference to the lives of our team members and to our community?
What roadblocks are in our way to living in true alignment with our mission statement?

I’ll tackle that last one and tell you about our Advisory Council.  Originally called the “Customer Council,” this was a brain child of my brother Greg’s.  We emailed our data base of guests and asked for volunteers to come to Grappone a few times each year to tell us what was on their minds.  The goal of this council is really to hear from you – the buying public – so we’d know where we drop the ball, and where we knock it out of the park.  We might think that we’re living our mission statement, but if you don’t then we need to talk.

Recent Council topics have covered the much-maligned finance department (that was a lively conversation!), the tire rewards program, and marketing.  Grappone Automotive has made some significant changes with the assistance of the Council, most notably the new free state inspection program (anyone who buys a new or used vehicle from us now receives free state inspections for the life of that vehicle.  It’s even transferable so go ahead and give your old car to that deserving teenager!)

It occurs to me constantly that Grappone is involved in so many process improvement projects, but to most of the world we’re just another car dealership.  I’m not sure if this blog will gain any traction but here’s a start.  I want to educate consumers that there is, indeed, a better place to buy and service your cars and trucks.  You shouldn’t have to tolerate your dealership: you should LOVE it!

Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any comments or questions.  Thanks for reading!

-Amanda Grappone Osmer, 4th Generation Owner

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