Hi, my name is Rich Larson and along with my beautiful wife and son Tyler, own Larson Auto World doing business as Law Motors. "My career in the car business started due to a tragedy that haunts me until today."
In 1985 my father was a farmer. Like many family farms we became victim of the times. We had our farm sale in April and the future was unknown. I never thought I would want nor do anything different but milk cows. No longer faced with my dreams, and needing a new career, scared, I went out into the world. I had an offer to play Jr. College football and at the college they offered a radio TV broadcasting course. Having no money during summer break I was hired at K101 in Luverne part time. Just before my 2nd season of fall practice I was offered a full time position at the station. I decided work experience was better than taking my beat-up knees back to football. I miss playing football even today.
Two months later they fired me. I thought my life was over. I remember saying this to Dad. That was the last time he yelled at me. Dad reminded me how lucky I was and to man up.
I applied for and became a nightclub disc jockey at a new bar at the time, Opies Nightclub. It was a fun job. As my first wife didn't like me working the bar, I went back to my college business Jimmy's Fish & Seafood. Scott Guttormson was in radio school and become my best friend. They gave me an opportunity to sell fish and seafood. James taught me how to sell a product. I owe that family for the direction of my career. I never feared making a sales call again. Thanks Jimmy!
Next was an adventure back in Sioux Falls working for Jim Burma Sr. at Carlson Distributing. This is all I have to say; I learned that successful people don't work an 8-hour day. Jim Burma Sr. will always be my business mentor and close friend and I miss him every day. Rest in peace Jim.
Oh yeah the car business. My father was working the car business before and since the day the farm went away. One day Brad Carley from Billion Motors offered me a job selling cars. I asked Dad what he thought. He gave me the best and only advice that I hold deeply in my heart; Rich be nice to people and they will buy from you. I took the advice and with a lot of help became the top used car salesman and not only at my store but all the Billion stores. I found a lifelong career.
After being promoted to new car sales manager at the Billion Chrysler & Nissan store and being rewarded a "National Growth Award" for new Nissan sales, I was presented a bonus check. That bonus check ended up paying less than what I was making selling used cars. Young and cocky, I marched into Dave Billion's office. I said pay me the difference and I will stay otherwise I am buying my own car lot. Dave Billion Sr. stood up, shook my hand and said good luck!
I thank Billion Motors for the many things but I wanted to treat my customers with more personal service. I started Wall Street Motor Company in 1995 with a partner. This business was successful but the partnership wasn't. My customers were in Sioux Falls and after a though divorce I decided to sell my half and move on. Out of work Billions offered to hire me back. A friend said lets drive around and see if we can start our own car lot. I declined Billion's offer and started Larson & Wagner Auto Brokerage in 1997.
I hated that name! We had a $100,000 line of credit and in the car business that's not enough. We had no money for a sign outside our business. I remember looking out my door and saying this is never going to work. I was depressed. At a car auction I saw a 1992 Ford Taurus. A light bulb went off. The bank would let me buy that car; I could letter it up and make it back into a police car, and shorten our name to L.A.W. Motors. The company was born.
TV commercials made us semi-famous. My schooling at Austin Community College gave me the knowledge it needed to succeed at the campaign. Oh yeah, and my big mouth. One year after opening we doubled in size and I bought my partner out in 1999. We grew!!
Another Tragedy; On June 10th of the year 2000 god gave me my greatest gift of my life, my wife Laura and my son Tyler. This completed me. What's the tragedy? September 11th, 2001. My wife had a career as a successful computer programmer at EROS Data Center. She was working on the "Dorran Project" and EROS went to a worldwide security alert. Everyone that was a subcontractor for the government was escorted out of EROS Data Center. This included Laura. We lost a $60,000 yearly salary and health insurance. It was a scary time. Laura is an Oracle programmer and only the world's largest companies used this system. Laura's employment opportunities were limited. I had just bought our building on 7th and Kiwanis and I asked Laura to join me and believe in the dream of owning a family business.
2010 was a very big year for our company. We had the luck and opportunity to purchase our second location. In 2011 we opened Law Motors Select. This location allowed us to expand our selection. In 2013 we were acknowledge to be a full spectrum dealer by one of our largest banks.
In 2014 we sold our 41st Street location, kept all the inventory and staff members and consolidated back to one location. Owning the second lot was successful, and it has allowed us to maintain the same market share without the stress of two locations.
We have a great team. We currently employ ten members. We have a sales team, complete service department, recondition department and financing center. By selling nearly ten-thousand vehicle we continue to grow each year. I have enjoyed writing this short biography. It has brought happiness, sadness, and pride to me.
My customers, without you none of this would be possible.
2700 West 7th St, 7th & N. Kiwanis Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104 - [View Map]