Have you ever been to Cuba? Nor have I, but I am thinking about visiting soon. Here in Tampa, all you have to do is drive down 8th Avenue, into Ybor City, past the New World Brewery, and walk through the front gate of José Martí Park. Just like that, you’re standing on .14 acres of Cuban soil.
The park was built to honor Martí, a champion of Cuban independence and that country’s most revered national hero. Ownership of the land was transferred to Cuba in 1956, shortly before the communist revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. It is rich with history and has been the site of clashes between anti- and pro-Castro groups; the latter is, for all intents and purposes, not welcome in the park.
Politics aside, every investigation into the matter has determined that José Martí Park is indeed part of Cuba. It’s just one of the many quirks of our beloved city, which also boasts the world’s longest continuous sidewalk (Bayshore Boulevard, 4.5 miles), a plaque commemorating Babe Ruth’s longest recorded home run (587 feet, Plant Stadium, 1919) and more lightning strikes than you can count.
Tampa is also the site of Dealer Summit, a conference designed to meet the specific needs of dealers and dealership management. It will be held May 3–5 at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel. When you visit Dealer-Summit.com, the first thing you will notice is the speakers. Sales trainer extraordinaire Jim Ziegler and special finance guru Greg Goebel headline an unprecedented roster of speakers representing a who’s who of the auto retail and finance industry, from trainers to dealership personnel, association heads, executives and thought leaders.
This estimable group is coming to Tampa to deliver three days of advanced education in sales and sales management, F&I and special finance, compliance, digital marketing and much more. Ziegler will host an all-day “Profit Masters” seminar on May 3. Goebel and the DealerStrong team will present no less than 10 sessions dedicated specifically to the subprime market. The industry’s only F&I Think Tank will be staffed by some of the nation’s top producers, including our own G.P. Anderson as well as F&I and Showroom’s “Mad” Marv Eleazer and Dina Wilson.
I can’t overstate the pride I feel in the agenda and roster we have built for Dealer Summit. Please check out the website and join us if you can.
Finally, I want to encourage you to recognize your vendors, suppliers, banks and finance companies by voting in the 12th annual Dealers’ Choice Awards. Voting is limited to dealers and dealership personnel, and although examples are listed for each of the 34 award categories, every voter must write in the name of the industry partners they wish to recognize. There is no charge to participate and you could win an Amazon Fire HD tablet.
The Dealers’ Choice Awards hold a special place in the hearts of the companies that have been honored. And despite all the work it takes to build and market the survey, tabulate the votes and distribute the awards, I can tell you they mean a lot to the staff here at the magazine as well. It’s a good program that recognizes the hard work of the people and companies who make your dealership run a little more smoothly and, ideally, at a higher profit.
It’s a great time to be in the industry, and springtime is like heaven in Tampa. I look forward to seeing you here.