Samuel Raabe, 33

2 Posted by - September 26, 2014 - 2014, Tampa 2014

General Sales Manager, Brandon Honda

When Samuel Raabe was 21, he decided he didn’t want to bartend for the rest of his life. Not shy in the least, Raabe wanted to find a job in an industry where he could leverage his personality.

“So I put a shirt and tie on and I pulled in a couple places,” to see if they were hiring, Raabe says. The first place he pulled in was a Kia dealership in Miami. Ever since, “it’s been an incredible ride,” he says.

Raabe worked at Honda Ocala for six years as finance manager. In December 2011, he transferred to Brandon Honda and was promoted to sales manager in the first three months. Just a little more than a year later, he was promoted again to general sales manager.

In the first six months of 2012, the store averaged 170 new car sales and 100 used car sales per month. His first six months on the job, Raabe increased monthly sales to 190 new cars and 120 used per month. “It wasn’t a huge increase, but I was working diligently to change the culture,” he says.

Raabe wanted to rid the dealership of any bad rep that the public often associates with the typical car dealership.

In his first full year, he led the team to sell 4,705 cars, up 1,100 cars from 2012. It was a 32% increase in volume and 42% increase in profits year over year.

Raabe’s hard work and investment in the culture has paid off, and sales continue to grow. He expects the store to have a 10% increase in volume and 18% increase in profit this year. “We found the volume level, now our major focus is capitalizing on all opportunities,” he says. “There’s no ceiling to what we can do here.”

Raabe, who listens to motivational CDs on the way to work, also doesn’t see a ceiling for his potential. “I would love to own my own dealership, and I will.”

— Traci McMillan Beach

Q&A

City of residence: Tampa

Birthplace: Ocala

Years on the Gulf Coast: 3

Marital status/children: single/ none

Alma mater: none

Best place to network: everywhere

Coolest business experience: Developing the team at Brandon Honda and all the milestones we have reached in just three short years

The most important business lesson I’ve learned: Never give up

One website that makes your job easier: Brandonhonda.com

One community group you’re most involved with: Brandon Foundation

Favorite off-hours activity: Golf

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett

Best award you ever received: Automotive news 40 under 40

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done: Skydiving

What’s at the top of your bucket list: Getting my pilots license

What new skill would you like to learn: I would like to improve my ability to speak in public

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Leonardo DiCaprio

If I had a magic wand I’d: Improve the world’s economy

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