Ryan Kaffer with his wife, Jenni, and children.
GRANITE CITY | The month of July marks a special anniversary for one JM Motors employee.
Ryan Kaffer of Troy has worked at the used auto dealership since July 7, 2003, making him a 12-year veteran with the well-known business.
Serving as general manager for the past 10 years, Kaffer said he is proud of the dealership and feels fortunate to be involved with his team.
“We’re like a big family,” he said. “It’s kind of cool. We’re very proud to have an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau.
“We have a very active owner; he works here and his wife handles the office. We are an established dealership and people trust us.”
JM Motors also has an important milestone to celebrate as well. This year marks its 45th year in business and according to Kaffer, 75 percent of that business is from repeat customers. Being in the car sales business, Kaffer and other sales employees have built good relationships with local banks and credit unions and other local dealerships.
In three years, he said JM Motors has had no unresolved complaints on the BBB website, an unusual feat for a used dealership. He also noted that if anyone is unsatisfied for any reason, they should definitely bring their concerns to him and he will “explore every avenue to try and make them happy.”
Kaffer grew up in Belleville, where he lived until the age of 18. His family was in the restaurant business and had a thriving spot in Belleville for 35 years. He said he was the only grandson in the family who did not work for the restaurant at some point, pursuing college instead. He later ended up in retail sales, selling commissioned-based apparel and shoes. This, Kaffer said, was where he realized his potential as a salesman.
His father, on the other hand, was more wary. Being in the automotive business for more than 30 years himself, he saw what a risky business it could be. However, when Ryan asked his father to help him get a job, he got him a position with a well-known local auto franchise.
Later, Kaffer said he was ready to move on to something different and began a career at JM Motors.
“It was quite different selling used cars compared with new vehicles, but (I am) very comfortable with where my career has taken me,” he said. “I’ve always liked cars and when I was growing up; my dad always had a different car he would drive around.
“I thought that was cool, driving a different vehicle all the time.”
Jenni Kaffer said that while her husband works long hours, he makes sure to spend family time with his wife and their two children; a 14-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.
“Ryan really tries to make time for our kids,” Jenni said. “He coached our daughter’s basketball team this past school year, and he just finished coaching our son’s Wilson Park league baseball team.”
Ryan has been married to his wife, Jenni, for more than 15 years. They have a 14-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. The Kaffer family attends church regularly in Troy, where their children attend private school. Ryan is very involved with his church and said he serves on two boards: Stewardship and Finance. He is also an usher and a coach for the girls’ basketball team.
An outgoing guy, Kaffer likes working with others both on the job and in his spare time. He said he doesn’t just run the dealership, but is involved with sales every day. He helps customers with their purchases from start to finish, making the process as simple as possible.
“It makes them more comfortable when I take care of them personally through the whole process, rather than dealing with several different people for each step,” he said. “My list may be miles long, but I like to go above and beyond for each customer I work with.”