CARMEL, IN. — Byrider, one of America’s largest buy-here-pay-here used car dealerships and franchise systems, presented a wide range of awards to its franchise body during the company’s annual convention in Scottsdale, Az on November 13

Craig Peters, chief executive officer at Byrider, said, “We’re proud to recognize our franchisees and their teams each year at our annual convention. Their commitment to helping their customers move forward, as well as expertly operating their stores is truly commendable.” 

I am excited to recognize the owners and operators who have been key drivers of the Byrider franchise business in 2021. These franchisees and operators demonstrated their ability to set high standards of customer service and grow its business,” added Chris Hadley, Byrider vice president of franchising.

Franchise of the Year

The franchise of the year award recognizes the best overall performance by a franchise group based on internal store rankings and a measure of how the business has contributed to the Byrider franchise community.

  • Franchise of the Year 4+ locations
    Russ Larson, Winston Sleeth, and Jeff Lee with seven locations in Burlington, Ia., Davenport, Ia., Des Moines, Ia., Cedar Rapids, Ia., Columbia, Mo., Joplin, Mo., and Springfield, Mo.
  • Franchise of the Year 2-3 location
    Bill Marsh Auto Group and Jeff Chevalier with three locations in Saginaw, Traverse City, and Wyoming, Mi.
  • Franchise of the Year single location
    Keith Kocourek and Jennifer Freiboth in Wausau, Wi.

President’s Award
The president’s awards recognize dealership locations included in the top 10% of stores as defined by Byrider’s store ranking system. Winners, in order:

  • Springfield Mo. – Russ Larson, Winston Sleeth 
    Top store nationwide
  • Burlington, Ia. – Russ Larson, Jeff Lee
  • Wausau, Wi. – Keith Kocourek , Jennifer Freiboth
  • Davenport, Ia. – Russ Larson, Jeff Lee
  • Joplin, Mo. – Russ Larson, Winston Sleeth
  • Palmyra, Pa. – Doug Lewis
  • Ashtabula, Oh. – Chris McPhie, Greg Barrett
  • Des Moines, Ia. – Russ Larson, Jeff Lee
  • Mansfield, Oh. – Chris McPhie, Greg Barrett
  • Akron, Oh. – Chris McPhie, Greg Barrett
  • Springdale, Ar. – Dave Hanson
  • Canton, Oh. – Chris McPhie, Greg Barrett
  • Bloomington, In. – Roy Wagner, Terry Gerhart
  • Traverse City, Mi. – Bill Marsh Auto Group, Jeff Chevalier
  • Anderson, In. – Roy Wagner, Terry Gerhart

Most Improved
The most improved award was granted to stores that demonstrated the most improvement from 2020 to 2021 based on store rankings (earnings, customer advancement, service comebacks, reputation management, portfolio performance, etc.), organized by franchise size.

  • Most Improved – 4+ Locations
    Jeff Williams with 4 locations in Opelika, Al., Tuscaloosa, Al., Panama City, Fl., and Pensacola, Fl.
  • Most Improved – 2-3 Locations
    Jonathan Gandolfo with locations in Columbia, Greenville, and North Charleston, Sc. 
  • Most Improved – Single Point
    Steve Walden with a location in Tucson, Az.

Also honored with a Commitment to Excellence Award was Chris Thomas, who owns stores in Raleigh and Durham, Nc. The award recognizes Thomas and his team’s dedication and high-performing stores for their contributions to the larger Byrider network. Thomas has piloted a new and innovative franchise model which prioritizes sales and service and partners with Byrider’s corporate finance team for account management, known as Byrider Direct.

About Byrider: Byrider, one of America’s largest buy-here-pay-here used car dealership and franchise systems, has sold more than 1.34 million cars at more than 140 locations across the country. Founded in 1989 as J.D. Byrider, the company recently rebranded and changed its name to Byrider. As part of its commitment to customer service, Byrider offers high-quality autos, trucks, and SUVs with on-site financing and features optional company warranties or service plans with vehicles sold. Each Byrider store features a state-of-the-art service department offering low-cost maintenance. Consumers who have been turned down for traditional bank financing are often able to “Buy, Finance and Drive On” at