National Independent Automobile Dealers Association
Serving Quality Independent Automobile Dealers Since 1946

2009 Jeffrey Braatz

Jeffrey Braatz calls his selection as NIADA’s 2009 Quality Dealer of theYear
“The most humbling thing of my life.”

“I was blown away by the quality ofmy competition,”said Braatz,as he described the field of 22 dealers who were nominated by their state associations to compete on the national level. “They are really great people. I didn’t think therewas anyway I would be selected. Itwas a dream come true.”

He called the experience “surreal.”

Braatz is owner of ParadiseMotor Sales, Inc. in Lansing and is a 33-year veteran of the automotive industry.He and his fellow candidates were judged by a Northwood University panel which looked at a variety of factors in order to make their selection including contributions to the
automotive industry and community involvement. The most honoring part of the award is being recognized for how you did it,not for how many cars you sell,”he said. “This honor makes me want to be a better dealer and a better person.”


Jeffrey Howard Braatz
of Lansing, MI

A Certified Master Dealer® since 2008,Braatz said his involvement and dealership allow him to accomplish whatever “I can do for other people” both in his business and his community. He called helping others among
the most favorite part of his work,especially when he works with customers, then sees their children and grandchildren come to his dealership “people who weren’t even born when I started in the business. It’s pretty satisfying to sell second and third generation people,” although he also loves the challenge and risk of the automotive industry.

Braatz’s civic contributions filled several pages of his application but judges especially noted his work with Special Olympics, helping under privileged children at risk for drug abuse and a 2002 Business Restoration Award for his support and efforts in re-energizing commerce in a blighted area of the state’s capitol city.

He got his start as a 19-year-old service station attendant who caught the eye of a car salesman from a franchise dealership. By 23,he was a used car manager and by age 27,he had purchased his own dealership without
help from family members or partners. “I just risked everything to do what I loved,” Braatz said.

Since that time, Braatz has built Paradise Motors into a thriving business with a dozen employees who get major credit from their boss. “We have a great team that works well with one another and treats our customers with care and dignity,” he said.“ I communicate with all of them daily to help them keep their great attitude and positive outlook.You can always do good business,have fun,operate with integrity and at the same time energize both the people and the process.”

He also praised his CMD designation and how it has helped him move forward in his business.“ I wish I had done it 25 years ago” Braatz said. The Lansing dealer has been a member of the Michigan IADA since
1990 and was instrumental in starting a mid-Michigan chapter for his state association.