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Spear Auto Sales opens lot on U.S. Highway 10 in Wadena

Photo by Brian Hansel B.J. Spear, left, Bill Spear and Randy Johnson have a used auto sales lot on U.S. Highway 10 in Wadena. There has been a Spear Auto Sales car lot on U.S. Highway 71 in south Wadena for 16 years.

Bill Spear has always had a fondness for the word "profit."

It prompted him to set up a new operation on U.S. Highway 10 in Wadena in May after being in the auto sales business on U.S. Highway 71 south of Wadena for 16 years.

Spear's son, B.J., and one of his former business partners, Randy Johnson, run the operation at the new location.

Spear's customers may be interested in only one kind of car or truck but Spear is interested in "whichever one we can make money on."

You do not stay in the auto sales business for 16 years without picking up a few insights into selling vehicles.

The new location affords travelers along U.S. Highway 10 a good look at what is for sale. You drive past it at 30 miles an hour, not 60. Something may catch your eye.

Anyone coming onto the lot is welcome to take a close look and even a test drive in the vehicle of their choice. The customer usually has a good idea of what they are after.

"It's just best to let people look," Spear said.

If you are interested in a Spear Auto Sales vehicle a test drive is arranged. Bill is not a mechanic so he always recommends a visit to the family mechanic. If they consider it a good vehicle the deal can go forward.

"I don't want to sell anybody a bad car," Spear said.

There was a time when haggling over the price of a car was considered a fine art in the auto sales business. The trouble with haggling is that it takes a lot of time and time can be money. Dealers price their vehicles to sell.

"There is not much haggling anymore," Spear said. "There is a lot more markup in a Lamborghini than a Ford Taurus."

Wadena was once a small town Mecca for buyers with several new car dealerships. The new Spear location is located in the same building that once housed Stuntebeck Ford and Domino Ford. They share the building with Heartland Tire.

With gas prices well over the $3 mark buyers usually want vehicles that offer the best mileage. Spear may have vehicle a buyer is looking for on his lot and he may not.

"Every individual is different," Spear said. "Some are worried about mileage and others about power. You're not going to make everyone happy."

One way Spear Auto Sales sells cars is to shop for them. B.J. spends most of his time locating vehicles and buying them for the two lots. At the same time he might be shopping for a specific car or van or truck - a vehicle that a buyer wants and a price they will pay for it. In these cases, the buyer has the Spear Auto Sales staff working for them.

What has kept Spear in the auto sales game for 16 years? Profit is one motivation but Spear has another reason.

"I get to meet a lot of people," Spear said.