By TRACEY NORVELL
GRAND OPENING: Greg Kach with his wife and children at the recent Jackie Cooper Infiniti “Fun Under the Big Top” grand opening. From left are Kathryn Kach, Tara Mitchell, Connie Kach, Greg Kach, Alex Kach and Connor Kach.
GTR Newspapers photo
In 1991, Greg Kach remembers achieving a personal career milestone.
“My goal was to be an automobile dealer by age 35. I missed it by one day but was no less happy with the accomplishment!” reports Kach.
Partnered with the late Jack Cooper, Kach in 1991 purchased the Tulsa Siggi Grimm dealership on 11th Street, the historic Route 66. As Jackie Cooper Imports, with a modest showroom, a staff of 23 and storage needs fulfilled with space in nearby buildings, the company began selling and servicing Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volvo vehicles.
“Our company is really a service-oriented business, we just happen to sell and service cars,” continues Kach. “Our goal has always been to have a strong, evolving vision and plan to serve our customers well for the long term. We invest in continuous training and we are vigilant about gathering team member observations, customer feedback, while stocking the best mix of new and preowned quality, good-value vehicles available. Customer wishes and needs drive us to be always moving forward with our best efforts for them and the community we live in.”
Jackie Cooper now employs over 250 and has three locations on South Memorial Drive in Tulsa. The team mantra is, “This is where I belong.”
“We want each person who is a guest at our stores to feel exactly the same way,” says Steve Lujan, one of the group’s general managers. It is a sentiment shared by Infiniti General Manager Tim Hensley, Nissan General Manager Kip Karn and Mark Lorentz, who overseas construction and remodeling projects. Lorentz and Kach met playing high school basketball.
Where did the career path begin for Kach? In Duluth, Minnesota.
“My father was a Chevrolet dealer for 23 years. His business afforded me a great start in the industry. Beginning in the parts department at age 13, I advanced to car detail and light maintenance on the preowned lot. My sales career began as a favor to a college business policy teacher.
“Uncomfortable with the shopping process, he asked me to help him buy a new Caprice wagon. Most of my teachers and coaches had traded with my family, but it was my very first sales transaction from start to finish. I got the bug! I then sold full-time, working afternoons and evenings while finishing college.”
Kach became general manager when his father semi-retired. He later stayed on as new car manager when the family sold the dealership until 1985 when he relocated to North San Diego County. Kach says he struggled at the high-turnover, fast-track store the first three months.
“I changed to wholesaling cars. I returned to retail sales, joining Hoehn Motors in Carlsbad, California. Within six months, I was promoted to Oldsmobile Sales Manager. Six months later, I was Mercedes / Porsche Sales Manager. At 32, I was the youngest in the sales department and in a position which had always been held by a Hoehn family member.
“When Hoehn acquired an Acura franchise, I was asked to hire staff, open it and be general sales manager. Returning a year later to the Mercedes store, I met my wife, Connie, who worked in Hoehn’s finance department. An Oklahoma native, Connie introduced me to Jack. We moved our family to Tulsa in 1991 to join Jack in purchasing and opening Jackie Cooper Imports of Tulsa. From the beginning, the business was busting at the seams, in need of more space.”
Wanting to expand the operation and carry more lines of performance imports, the company broke ground at 93rd Street and Memorial Drive in 1998, soon after becoming one of the first dealers on what is now “Auto Row.” New lines included first Porsche, then Infiniti, smart and Maserati.
As the company grew, many coveted manufacturers’ awards were earned:
Mercedes Best of the Best, Infiniti Award of Excellence, Premier Porsche Dealer and, for the past 13 consecutive years, Jackie Cooper Nissan has earned the Nissan Owner First Award of Excellence – one of only eight among 1,350 Nissan dealerships to achieve this distinction.
Along with model lines expanding, showrooms are regularly updated and expanded. In 2005, a second location was completed at 98th Street and Memorial Drive, exclusively for Nissan sales and service.
“In 2017, we broke ground for an exclusive Infiniti store at 86th and Memorial; it had to be the coldest, soggiest Valentine’s Day ever, still over 80 community leaders, chamber ambassadors, customers and friends showed up, huddling under a tent for the ceremonies.”
Today Jackie Cooper offers Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche and pre-owned vehicles.