John Paine grew up in Olympia, but a love for sunshine would take him to the Grand Canyon State.
An alumni of Tumwater High School, John played football for the T-Birds and loved every minute of it. However, after graduating from high school and meeting the woman who would later become his wife, John was ready for a change in scenery.
Tired of the soggy Pacific Northwest weather, John and his wife packed their bags and moved to Arizona. This is where John first started selling cars.
With a natural talent for sales and a love for the auto industry, John’s reputation as a car salesmen quickly grew, taking the couple from Scottsdale, Arizona to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
However, after soaking up the sunshine in Arizona and enduring a handful of blustery winters in Idaho, John and his wife were over extremes and ready to return to the mild and comfortable climate they grew up in – Olympia.
Over the course of his career, John has worked at a variety of dealerships. From selling Kias in Coeur d’Alene and Dodges in Tacoma to working for Auto Nation, today John finds himself at home at the Olympia Auto Mall where he serves as the sales manager for Volkswagen of Olympia, and he could not be happier.
“It’s been awesome,” John said. “Volkswagen is the largest car manufacturer in the world, so it’s exciting to be a part of that — and their cars are so fun to drive,” he added. And having driven so many makes and models of cars in his life, John can attest to the quality of Volkswagen vehicles firsthand. For him, they even hold sentimental value. “I was driving a Volkswagen when I met my wife 17 years ago.”
But for John, representing a brand he loves is just the tip of the iceberg. At Volkswagen of Olympia, John is part of the I-5 Cars group, and it is a company he could not be more proud of.
John has worked for a lot of different car dealerships, and he said over the years, the auto industry has gotten a bad wrap. “Heidi and Bob are different though,” John said, referring to I-5 Cars owner, Heidi Pehl, and her husband, Bob. “Here, if people do their jobs with a good attitude and smiles on their faces, they get rewarded.”
John knows this because he is often the person helping associates excel to the next level.
“My favorite part of the job is growing people and coaching them,” John said.
Growing up playing sports, John understands the value of a good coach.
“I like to see people grow,” he said. “Taking people who have come from other industries or worked at other dealerships and giving them good leadership — that’s what drives me.”
But like any good coach knows, teamwork is key to success.
“A lot of people in the sales industry are afraid to teach people what they know,” John said. “But I always thought if you work for a good business and you’re growing people and getting people promoted underneath you, you’re more valuable.” For John, he believes he is only successful if the people around him are successful too, which is why John is a mentor to his staff — and his community.
When John is not coaching his staff, he is coaching his son — and his son’s teammates — on the gridiron. Coaching is John’s passion, but it is also his way of giving back to the community he loves.
An active member of the local youth sports community, John said it is great to work for a company that is equally passionate about supporting youth sports. Volkswagen of Olympia is a proud sponsor of several youth sports teams across Thurston County. But the giving does not stop there.
Throughout the week of Thanksgiving I-5 Cars is donating $25 to Lacey-based non-profit Homeless Backpacks for every new Volkswagen that is taken for a test drive.
“It’s wonderful to work for somebody who thinks about the community,” John said. “At Volkswagen of Olympia, we feel very strongly about the kids. It’s important to lift the spirits of kids who are having a rough time — especially during the holidays,” he added.
In addition to giving back to the community, John said at Volkswagen of Olympia, it is all about the customer. “It’s not about profit,” he said, referring to Volkswagen of Olympia’s business philosophy. “It’s about happy customers.”
On Friday, November 27, Volkswagen of Olympia is taking part in #BlackFriday, giving back to its customers by offering free oil changes all day long. Black Friday is also a great opportunity for customers to explore Volkswagen of Olympia’s new state-of-the-art facility.
John said it is exciting to have such a beautiful facility to serve the community in — and the new building has been catching the eye of many passersby. “We’ve had people stop by who aren’t looking for cars just to see the facility,” he explained. “For people who have been driving this road for 30, 40 or 50 years, it’s exciting to see a beautiful landmark that will be here for years to come.”
John understands this because he himself can remember what the Auto Mall looked like when he was a kid. More than two decades later, for John to see how it has changed and grown — and to be a part of that growth — is something he could not be more proud of.