How did your business begin?
A native of Turkey, North Carolina, I grew up on a tobacco farm. My grandfather, a strawberry farmer, convinced me to leave my rural setting and set my sights on a career in business. I moved to Columbia in 1961 where I worked as a part-time automobile salesman while pursuing a career as a licensed optician. I realized that my true love was the automobile business, and I shelved my optician’s license and devoted myself to becoming an automobile dealer.
Becoming an Oldsmobile dealer became my life’s ambition. I love automobiles. I’ve always been fascinated by cars. The only time I ever got in trouble at school was one time when I went to look at some cars. And when I first began working at an auto dealership, I discovered I love working with people.
I worked my way up through the ranks into a sales manager position and eventually a partner in a Columbia dealership. I continued to focus on someday seeing my name on a sign over my own business. In 1980, when Oldsmobile was ready to add a franchise in Columbia, I was positioned to win the coveted dealership.
My dedication to customer satisfaction and my reputation for honesty and integrity led to rapid growth and expansion of this business.
What is the mission of your business?
To provide our customers with the best ownership experience possible and to exceed their expectations by achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty through professional and courteous representation of ourselves and our products to our customers, employees, and community.
How has the Columbia community benefitted from your business and how does your company give back to the Columbia community?
I have always felt that along with success comes an obligation to serve the communities in which I and the members of my team live and work. Jim Hudson Automotive Group has currently donated over nine million meals to those in need through Harvest Hope Food Bank, and my employees give of their own time and talents to help the less fortunate. Volunteer service also includes assisting other worthy civic and charitable organizations, including Veteran Affairs, Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and many more.
I am a firm believer in leading by example, and I personally serve on the boards of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the Cultural Council, and the Rotary Club. I also serve on the board of directors for the Oliver Gospel Mission where I donated the land and financial support to build Toby’s Place, a location for homeless women and children. My philanthropy has also extended to charities including South Carolina Highway Patrol, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, The United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, The Gold Star association, and The South Carolina D.A.R.E program that teaches all fifth graders in the state about the harms of drugs and how they can resist them. During 2020, Jim Hudson Automotive Group actively supported more than 115 local charities.