BRIDGEWATER — A former Brockton High student-athlete found his niche after leaving a full-time job. Now, the 25-year-old dug deep into his savings to purchase an auto dealership with a business partner.
“I realized that I wanted to be able to choose who I work with and acquire like-minded people in my work circle. This is the main reason I went into business for myself. You hold yourself accountable for your success or lack thereof,” Hakim Atkinson, co-owner of Almanzar Auto Sales in Bridgewater, said.
As a child, Atkinson watched his father’s Jamaican restaurant, Top Notch Caribbean Cuisine, run smoothly in Randolph. He knew that ultimately being an entrepreneur was the best decision in his journey, but he didn’t take that leap until June this year.
Atkinson graduated from BHS in 2015 and furthered his education at the American International College. He played football, earned his bachelor’s in English and earned a master’s in education in 2020.
After graduation, Atkinson worked for the Brockton Public School system until 2022.
As the young entrepreneur navigated through the world of education, he felt a missing piece in his life. After doing some soul-searching, everything finally made sense.
“One day, this opportunity fell in my lap,” Atkinson said.
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“I always wanted my own business but didn’t know what field. I wanted to put a smile on people’s faces but also be able to take care of my family and responsibilities. The stars aligned in a way and gave me the opportunity to build generational wealth with my business partner,” Atkinson said.
Atkinson joined forces with Ernesto Almanzar, purchased an already established auto dealership, Murphy’s Auto Sales, and turned it into their new venture.
It may sound easy, but the road ahead of them was difficult.
The pair had to do several things before the business opened, including inquiring about a 35-car license, adding business insurance, gaining dealer plates, creating a business account, registering for the auction, and paying all necessary fees.
Although these processes took a while, the pair was able to open on June 16, 2022, and Atkinson said it was worth the wait.
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Their business, Almanzar Auto Sales, specializes in used cars from $3,000 to $15,000.
“Right now, the used car market is so high, prices for cars are inflated because of the general market and lack of inventory in new cars, causing used car prices to spike,” Atkinson said.
According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of used cars and trucks for urban consumers increased by more than 40% in 2022.
“We don’t want to overcharge customers because of inflation. We want to get you a reliable car for an affordable price,” Atkinson said.
One stereotype used car dealers are facing right now is people thinking you’re going to hoodwink them, the entrepreneur said.
“Used car salesmen get a bad reputation. People always think you’re going to steal their money and sell them a bad car, which is the opposite of the truth. There are several challenges a customer may face when buying a car, from low credit to low funds, but we always work with clients to get them the best deal,” Atkins said.
Atkins knows the struggle of buying a car in a specific price range, and he remembers how much of a hassle it was to buy his first car.
Especially in today’s economy.
“My goal is to make buying a car a seamless experience no matter the budget or credit score,” Atkinson said.
The best part of his job is the smiles customers leave with as they drive away in their new ride, Atkinson said.
Enterprise staff reporter Alisha Saint-Ciel can be reached by email at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter at @alishaspeakss and Instagram at Alishaatv. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today