Photography by Caleb Shane
‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ – these powerful words are uniquely and undeniably American. ThisAmerican Dreams series features ordinary people with extraordinary stories of success and advice for making the most of your dreams. It reiterates the importance of shop local + share local, a part of our culture that makes Central Arkansas unique.
At Owens Murphy Jaguar Land Rover Volkswagen, Owner Lee Owens has three primary goals: “to provide a great service for our customers, a great working environment for our associates and to be profitable. All three are important for our company to survive. Without any of those key ingredients, the company will not exist.”
Since 2004, when Lee came to The Natural State from Texas, Owens Murphy has been through its fair share of challenges and successes. While underperforming before his acquisition of the dealership, under Lee’s leadership the business has experienced many improvements. That momentum came to a halt in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
“We were able to weather the storm, and in 2010 we picked up the Volkswagen franchise. Adding Volkswagen to our Jaguar and Land Rover brands has helped fuel our growth tremendously and allowed us to invest back into our people and the facility.”
Today, their Volkswagen division is the fastest-growing Volkswagen dealership in Arkansas. It offers free roadside assistance, a free car wash with every service, Uber reimbursement or courtesy transportation and more services. Both the Jaguar/Land Rover and Volkswagen branches of Owens Murphy have blogs on their respective web pages (found in the drop-down menu of the website’s ‘About’ page), whose articles provide useful product information for drivers.
Lee notes a key benefit of his dealership is its local ownership. “Most days you can walk into the store and speak with the owner. We are a TRUE LOCAL nameplate.”
Lee says that his father, a major influence in his life, instilled in him a “self-driven” attitude that he carries with him at Owens Murphy. “He always encouraged us to dream big and chase those dreams,” Lee added.
He admits that it’s tough putting in the hours required to run a small business, but says it’s worth the investment. “There are many long hours that drag you away from family and friends. Usually you find yourself in the office while everyone else is enjoying a holiday at the lake or something. But this is what we signed up for when we took on the opportunity. I get enjoyment chasing my dreams and passions – setting new benchmarks, hitting those benchmarks and then raising the benchmark again. It is almost like golf: you can always do better or worse, and it takes hard work with a little luck.”
Best Business Advice: don’t give unwanted advice
Business Inspiration: my father and father-in-law
Self-Described: intense – per my wife