Maybe you have seen the catchy commercial on TV, or maybe you have seen one of the many cars riding around town with a Floyd’s Used Cars logo plastered on the back of the vehicle. Either way, the business name is well known to many residents in Sampson and surrounding counties.
The business, which was opened in 1962 by Floyd Carter, is still operating, now in its 54th year of business. The drive out to Floyd’s from town is a good distance, as the lot is about 10 miles outside the city’s limits, just off High House Road, on Brewington Road. Customers don’t seem to mind the drive, because what’s waiting is worth it. The car lot and shop are located behind Carter’s house — the original location.
Carter started the business part-time, because he was employed at Lundy Packing Company. The businessman claims he started the business because he wanted to leave Lundy, but retirement didn’t come until 18 years later, having worked for the local company 31 years.
“I have always had an interest in cars,” Carter said, as he sat in a rocking chair in a sunroom on the back of his house, keeping a close eye on business through the sun-covered windows. “I wanted to leave Lundy’s, that’s why I started selling cars.”
In the beginning, Carter said there were two employees — his wife and himself. Business operated out of Carter’s home and was good for a part-time job, Carter said, as he was selling an average of four or five cars a month. Now, the business sells an average of 40 cars a month.
Carter said he has always based his business ethics on providing good customer service.
“I’ve always had a great relationship with my customers,” Carter shared. “I care about the cars and the people I sell them to. I make sure they are satisfied, because you know, it worries me if they aren’t.”
Throughout his 54 years of business, Carter said he couldn’t say for sure, but he has dealt with thousands of customers. Many do repeat business, some even paying a visit and buying cars for a fourth generation.
“That’s what I like,” Carter said. “I like seeing them come back because of the good service we have given them.”
The business hours are posted on the office door, but Carter’s wife Annie said her husband has always believed in doing business seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
“At one time, the business number was our house number,” Annie said. “We had to switch the number over to the office and get another number for our house. People would call all during the night when they needed a car. Floyd was always working. People would just come and knock on the door and say, ‘I need a car.’”
Annie served as Carter’s first administrative assistant and kept the books and financial records for many years, all while working full time herself 28 and a half years.
“This woman has given me a lot of support,” Carter attested.
“I know, it’s taken a lot of patience,” Annie quickly interjected.
When the business first started, Annie said she kept the books on paper, all handwritten by her. Now, everything is computerized. The staff has grown some over the years as well, with nine employees now.
Even though Carter considers himself retired, his wife and son, Edward, say he is at the shop from opening until closing everyday. If he does take a break, it isn’t for long, as he always keeps a close eye on what is happening and who comes through the office.
“He is the CEO of the business,” Edward shared with a laugh.
The business hasn’t come without challenges, Carter said, but for the most part, it has all been good.
“I have really been able to grow the business as much as I wanted to,” Carter said.
There has never been a business partner, just Carter, but he has had assistance from some of the people in his community and family.
Carter’s youngest brother, Glenn Carter, known as Chuck, did paint and body work prior to serving as the office manager for 12 years before his death in 2014. Other members of Carter’s family have worked with him through the years, some traveling up the interstate to purchase cars from Virginia and Baltimore.
“I did this myself until about 10 years ago,” Carter said, referring to making the trips to purchase cars.
Carter takes pride in the business services he is able to offer his customers. Not only does he sell cars, but he does his own financing and has the capability to do mechanical work in a shop that was originally built in 1978, but was just added on to a few months ago.
“This business has made it because of mama and daddy’s kindness,” Edward shared. “It was built off their trust of people.”
Carter offers such good business, Annie said she has always been a customer, buying all her cars, except one, from her husband’s business.
“God has been good to us,” Annie said.
With his eye still on the business outside, looking at the time, Carter asked, “Can I go now?”
You see, it was 6 p.m., closing time, and Carter had to do what he does at the end of every day — close the business.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.