Road to Success
You can still find a place in the auto industry--you just have to know where to look.
When customers walk into Dale Fox's car rental business in Venice, California, they aren't greeted by a choice of compact, sedan or SUV; they're greeted by art--both on the walls and on four wheels. Spin Automotive Group, Fox's company, offers rentals of classic, one-of-a-kind automobiles in museum-quality condition.
"[In Los Angeles,] there are lots of places where you can go out and rent a new Ferrari for a day. They've become ordinary," says Fox, 41. "But if I pull up behind a [Lamborghini] in a 1961 Alfa Romeo, I guarantee you that I'll come out after five minutes and there will be 12 people standing around the car. [Classics] are very inclusive, not exclusive. They strike up conversations, and I find that it's a way of engaging the world in a really authentic, genuine fashion rather than trying to say, 'I'm cooler than you.'"
Fox has found a unique niche in a marketplace full of multinational household names and is set to bring in $5 million in his first full year of business. "The [automotive] industry--especially dealerships--is populated with many second-, third- and even fourth-generation family businesses," says Les McKeown, a serial entrepreneur, author and consultant who has advised many automotive aftermarket, dealership and rental businesses. "These are tough incumbents to unseat. They have longevity, customer loyalty and detailed insider's knowledge of the industry on their side."
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