Female entrepreneur changing the face of the car industry

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Did you know women own only 5% of Canadian car dealerships? After years of working her way up, from a bookkeeper to a general manager, Tammy Roach took a leap in 2019 and opened PEI’s only Mitsubishi dealership. “Drive your ambition” is Mitsubishi Motors' slogan but for Tammy, owner/operator of the dealership, it’s more of a personal life motto.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we sat down with Tammy to discuss the life of a dealer principal (owner). Though not all dealer principals (owners) are general managers, she is. Tammy works six days a week and is highly involved with all the activities at her dealership. She wants customers to feel welcome and at ease.

“Better decisions are made when men and women work together and it’s not just the old boys club.”

Unfortunately, the largest demographic of people who do not feel comfortable in a dealership are women. While not all women will have negative experiences with sexism at all dealerships, it still happens, she says.

“I’ve had women stand in my office, crying because of how they’ve been treated at a car dealership. Like I don’t understand why they’re treating women poorly when they make 80% of the buying decisions.”

Tammy says, “buying a car should be fun! Why isn’t buying a car fun?”

She has made it her mission to ensure everyone who enters her showroom feels comfortable and welcome. She has a soft spot for women who feel nervous that they might get taken advantage of at a dealership or service centre.

Last month, she launched Shop Talk for women to come by the service centre after hours and learn more about general vehicle maintenance.

“We even had a car on the lift and our service manager would show them what the brakes look like and how to know when they need replacing, things like that. It was a big hit.”

Tammy became a credit union member in 2018 and says a key ingredient to her success is having the right people and processes to support her vision. She credits Provincial Credit Union as a key support.

“I love my credit union. I can call there, and the receptionist knows who she is talking to. That personal touch is huge. I love that I can pick up the phone and talk to someone right away.”

Are you looking to pursue your passion and start your own business? Find your nearest credit union and connect with a financial expert to help get you started.