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Trust and relationships

Vilori Inge, who purchased her BMW from The Toy Store last year, said Rod and Davina did all they could to make finding her sleek ride an enjoyable experience.

Grownups Can Find What They Want at The Toy Store

With a central location at 1635 East Shelby Drive, a fully stocked selection of vehicles on the lot Converse Classic Black And White

J. HASTINGS McIVER Special to The Daily News

Most recently, The Toy Store was profiled in the January/February issue of Memphis' Grace magazine. Prior to that, it was named the Black Business Association of Memphis' Member of the Month for November 2005.

"Now that our customer base and customer service level is so strong, they're able to trust us," Davina said. "We've become established enough to have a rapport with different banks and other companies, so that they can see that we're an established business."

That's not to say women don't have their particular affections, as well.

"It's just an old phrase: 'Boys and their toys,'" Rod said. "Men always have to have the biggest gun, the biggest boat even with fishing stories, it's always who caught the biggest fish. Cars are the same way. Guys love speed, flash, chrome wheels they just love cars."

It was after traveling to other large cities that Rod, The Toy Store's president, noticed a disparity in the number of luxury car dealerships compared to Memphis.

The recognition has helped The Toy Store build trust with customers and the financial institutions that have helped build the business a level of trust that isn't easy to achieve for a small, independent company in a large pool of well known competitors.

team five years ago. Photograph By J. Hastings Mciver

"They were driven to satisfy the customer; that was their No. 1 goal," Inge said. "I changed my mind three or four times and they were always patient and very helpful.

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Converse Shoes Colors

A brother and sister team, Rod and Davina Jones opened the business in 1998 with 10 cars, then began to multiply their stock. Now they sit upon a high styled mecca that brings luxury automobiles to the masses.

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and the Internet resources to locate almost any other vehicle a customer wants, Rod and Davina seem to have carved themselves an indelible niche in the specialized world of luxury automobiles.

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It also was Rod's idea to call the dealership The Toy Store, because of the tendency of some guys to equate their vehicles with other playthings.

"Meaning that we're not a franchise," she said. "We go out and get our own lenders to back financing for the customers. We built this business from the ground up."

While other major metropolitan areas had sometimes as many as five or Converse Shoes Colors six dealerships for each brand of luxury car, Memphis had about one of each. That allowed the individual dealerships to monopolize prices, he said.

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Converse Shoes Colors

And not only were the Joneses dealing with being a small fish in a big pond, but until around 2004, The Toy Store was the only black owned independent luxury automobile dealership in Memphis, Davina said.

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"They had a genuine concern and care that I got what I wanted," he said. "That was five years ago, and (my car is) still running, still looking good, still driving good."

Name recognition key

"What we did was to step in with the same vehicles with the same factory warranties, and we just buy everything from the factory off lease, from the actual companies," Rod said. "That means you know all the history of your vehicle."

Girls and their toys

"From starting off with about 10 cars to now, when we try to keep the inventory between 20 and 30 cars, has been quite a process," said Davina. "But you have to Converse Shoes Off White

SERVICE WITH A SMILE: The Toy Store owners Rod and Davina Jones share a laugh with Rev. Clennon Saulsberry Sr., who bought a car from the brother and sister Converse Low Tops Black

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However, she and Rod have maintained their competitive edge with customer service and reasonable pricing.

Davina explained that being an independent dealership at least at first did create challenges.

crawl before you walk."

Rev. Clennon Saulsberry Sr. of New Nonconnah Missionary Baptist Church bought a Mercedes S320 from The Toy Store and calls his experience there "beautiful."

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Rod realized that if he could buy pre leased vehicles from the larger dealerships, he could offer them back to consumers at a fair price with a solid background on each vehicle.

"They were driven to satisfy the customer; that was their No. 1 goal. I changed my mind three or four times and they were always patient and very helpful." Vilori IngeToy Store customer

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