After 51 years working in Lugoff, Richard Leadingham is retiring. He is well known in the community, as he has been a car salesman for 21 years at the Toyota Store and Lugoff Ford since retiring from DuPont after a 30-year career there. He said the biggest change he’s seen in the auto business has been the use of technology.
“The big thing is the computers. In some ways they made things more complicated, but overall it’s helped us a great deal,” he said. “They’re making a better quality car all the time. Ford makes an excellent product.”
Leadingham said a successful car salesman builds relationships with his customers, resulting in repeat sales.
“It seems like everybody that comes through the door knows me or has heard of me. I’m lucky from that standpoint,” he said. “A lot of the people I knew from DuPont have bought cars from me and I appreciate it very much. It’s been a great business, a great job with some of the best people in the world. This is the finest bunch I’ve ever been associated with. I’m going to miss them. They’ve been helpful to me in every way possible.”
Born and raised in West Virginia, Leadingham said he came to this area in 1961 when he was in the U.S. Air Force and stationed at Shaw Air Force Base.
“It’s a very good place to live,” he said. “I liked it, so I stayed.
Leadingham said his average sales figures have consistently been around 30 vehicles a month.
“I got to be Salesman of the Month probably 80 percent of the time,” he said. “It was very seldom that anybody beat me.”
Lugoff Ford Assistant Service Manager Ethan Whitehead said he has learned a lot about the car business from Leadingham.
“I started working here about three years ago and the first day you kind of job shadow with people. He helped me and he means a lot to me. He taught me how to stock in cars, how to do a deal and stuff like that,” Whitehead said. “He’s a real genuine person, always looking out for people. He’s been doing it a long time. You don’t usually see people who have been in the business that long.”
Leadingham said his retirement plans include playing golf and traveling with his wife of 16 years, Debbie.