could be established, though Clark was forced to unload the McAllen and Rio Grande City parcels.
Clark said his "ultimate dream" had been to be No. 1 in the country at least once. Now that he's accomplished that goal, Clark is eyeing the next one: conquering South Texas, including San Antonio.
"When I went through the big crash, and my own crash, I almost lost everything," Clark said. "This was about three years ago. If I hadn't basically been able to sell out of those other two properties. I was choking on that debt and we had to get out of it."
been able to do it without some key people," he said. "For example, if the bank never took a risk on me I never would have been anything. First National Bank took a risk on me back in the day and basically held my hand until I got going."
"It was such a close one," he said. "I was waiting day by day. I had so much pressure on my chest it felt like I was going to pop. Instead, we went from going in reverse to going forward."
Not so long ago it was all hanging by a thread. Clark was buried in debt on land he'd purchased in Rio Grande City and McAllen, with the aim of operating used car lots on the properties until he could open dealerships.
Currently he's in third place, with the Harlingen dealership selling 200 to 300 new cars a month and nearly 400 some months. Add to that pre owned sales, and Clark is moving 600 to 800 cars a month.
"With that power team that I have around me I'm able to grow," he said. "We wanted to go from good to great. We wanted to get everybody in our company sold on the idea that they could be greater than they saw themselves."
that saved his entire enterprise.
The recession exacerbated serious problems within the company, he said.
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The six acres in Brownsville that he'd bought with the intention of eventually putting in a franchise, added to the debt. The plan was for used car sales to pay the note on each of Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Co-axial Chronograph 44mm the properties until full blown franchises Omega Seamaster Master Coaxial Aqua Terra
Clark expects sales at the Brownsville location to equal or surpass those of Harlingen, and said the new dealership will ultimately employ 100 to 125 people technicians, office personnel, tech support, managers, salespeople which is roughly the same as Harlingen employs now.
And while the current project $4.5 million for the building alone means further debt, Nissan determined that he could pay it off even if he had to close one dealership, Clark said. Needless to say, things are looking up, especially compared to a few years ago.
He managed to hold onto the Harlingen dealership and the Brownsville lot that was the scene of Wednesday's ground breaking. Clark said it was the success of Brownsville used sales, due to a crack management team, Omega Seamaster Deville Black Dial
Clark is owner/president of Charlie Clark Nissan in Harlingen, as well as lots for preowned vehicles in Mission and San Antonio. Last April the Harlingen location, which Clark bought in 2001, outsold every other Nissan dealership in the country.
Clark also credits his business partner and chief operating officer, Jeff Bonugli, and his executive manager, Rigo Guevera, who started with Charlie Clark Nissan as a salesman.
77/83 Expressway just north of Cheddar's, is slated to open March 23. The site has been home to one of Clark's two Brownsville used car lots since 2006.
"This is not going to be the end," he said. "This is only the beginning. I've surrounded myself with some very powerful managers, therefore it's taken off like a rocketship. Our people have been passionate about growing with us and helping us grow. Without that passion, from all of our employees, we wouldn't be doing what we're doing."
Clark Nissan returns to growth mode
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