Lofty goals are not new for Jim Hudson. He moved to Columbia with $100 in his pocket, with plans to attend the University of South Carolina. Instead, he opened a car dealership as the youngest dealership owner in the country at the time. Jim Hudson Automotive Group expanded over the next 42 years to include dealerships in Columbia, Irmo, Lexington, and Augusta representing Lexus, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Audi, Chevrolet, Infiniti, Acura, Ford, and Toyota, as well as used and certified pre-owned vehicles of every make and model.
One might think, given the size of the company, that work is what it’s all about for Jim. The truth is almost 10 million meals away. Taking care of customers and employees is certainly part of Jim’s success, and he puts a lot of effort into doing just that. It is the third prong of his business model, however, that is dearest to his heart. “I feel as a businessman it is important for me and our employees to support the community we live and work in,” says Jim.
This isn’t just another sales slogan; it is a way of life. Jim is well known for his philanthropic endeavors. He gives back to the community through 115 charities, including Oliver Gospel Mission, American Red Cross, and the Harvest Hope Food Bank. For his efforts, Jim was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Gov. Nikki R. Haley in 2013. The Order of the Palmetto is the state’s highest civilian honor, recognizing a person’s lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina.
In the nine years since receiving this honor, Jim’s desire to give back to his community has only increased. “This year, Jim Hudson Automotive Group’s goal is to provide its 10 millionth meal through Harvest Hope Food Bank,” says Josh Waters, Jim Hudson’s director of public relations. Building on previous years’ accomplishments, Jim is eager to hit this special mark. How will the company achieve this goal? Through selling 2,000 cars in the months of May and June. A portion of the proceeds from every car sold in these two months will go toward providing food to children in the Midlands.
The timing of this campaign is not random. June and July are the months when children who would normally receive breakfast and lunch from school are without that benefit. “June and July are not the best months to sell cars because a lot of people are on vacation then,” says Josh. “However, the thought of kids going hungry because they have no school-provided meals doesn’t sit well with us.” To Jim Hudson Automotive Group, it is a call to action. Feeding hungry kids motivates Jim’s entire workforce to action in a way nothing else can. Jim says, “This milestone of 10 million meals is something that is very special to me, and I hope that other businesses in the area will step up and support Harvest Hope.”
Jim Hudson Automotive Group’s 10 millionth meal campaign cannot be done by the company alone. It will rely on its top-notch sales staff, their loyal customer base, and on new customers as well. It is now that the dealerships’ reputation of providing excellent sales and service pays dividends of a unique sort.
Thankfully, due to convenient locations and the many types of new and used cars Jim Hudson Automotive Group represents, there is a vehicle for anyone who wishes to help. Jim Hudson believes: “Maybe with the work of all of us, we can wipe out the food insecurity in the Midlands of South Carolina.” Through the efforts of his employees and his loyal customer base, Jim and Jim Hudson Automotive Group can meet that special benchmark of providing the company’s 10 millionth meal to the children of the Midlands.