Jill Merriam, Female Car Dealer, Dealer for the People
Key Hyundai of Manchester, Milford, and Key Chevrolet of Middletown are owned by Jill Merriam, the Dealer For The People, right here in Connecticut.
Jill is one of the only female franchised car dealers in Connecticut. Here’s the background story on Jill. Why should you read this? You should read this because Jill is here to help you get the automotive and financing solutions you need. The more you know about her, the more you discover she’s the real deal and not just a voice on the radio, the more likely you are to reach out to her and allow her to help you.
The Early Years – forming Jill’s sense of social justice:
Jill’s life was a tale of two cities. Her parents divorced when she was young. Her Dad was a second generation car dealer. Her Mom was a customer service rep. So, she learned at an early age what life was like on both sides of the fence. Her upbringing taught her compassion and strong survival skills.
Jill’s role in her divorced family was constantly trying to satisfy everyone’s needs and making sure that everyone was happy. She’s continued that to this day!
Her mom always instilled in her a strong sense of social justice and an ethical nature. Her mom, Judy, is her hero – she is a retired second grade teacher from New Haven saving the world one kid at a time.
Life B.C. (before car dealership):
Jill graduated from college and got a dream corporate finance job. She worked around the country and around the world – with stints in London, New York, Boston and Seattle. She lived the American dream for over 10 years – big job, big office, big money and big respect! Her last corporate job was as a Senior Financial Analyst at Microsoft. She even sat in corporate review meetings with Bill Gates!
So, why give all that up for the car business?
One day when Jill was in a meeting with Bill Gates, she got to thinking. She thought, “Bill Gates revolutionized the software business. Now, I am one of 35,000 employees on this campus. What if I tried to revolutionize my family’s business?”
But why not the car business from the start?
Jill grew up around the dinner table hearing about how stressful the car business can be. That’s why she shied away from it right after college. The negative stereotype of the shady car dealer was just so … icky. But soon Jill started to think about shattering the old structure of the car business, smashing those stereotypes. What would the business look like if people were just treated with respect and had all their questions answered? What if we provided solutions people needed to own an affordable car they would love to drive? What would happen if the ethics she holds true in her life carried over to the business – the car business?
What if she just hired only highly trained automotive and finance experts and educated them with the mission and vision to be solution providers and never product pushers? To meet peoples needs, treat them honestly and respectfully, value their time and obligations, with absolutely zero tolerance for smoke and mirrors and well the general B.S. often found in the car business?
What if Jill created a team of solution providers instead of a sales force? What if Key Hyundai provided practical automotive and financing solutions?
What if Jill really and truly became, the Dealer For The People?
Folks too set in their ways said she was crazy – “don’t try to change the way things have been done for a million years.” The story was always the same; “I’ve been doing this for 26 years. I started washing cars in high school. What could you possibly know about selling cars?”
Wow. This was going to be a challenge, but her gut said go for it! This was her opportunity to give back to the Connecticut community, and reinvent the business of getting folks on the road in a nicer, newer car.
The Grand Experiment:
In 2002, Jill and her bother Jeff opened a Hyundai dealership in Connecticut, and, just like that, the grand experiment began of treating people honestly with absolutely no sales pressure. It’s true that Jill makes money when people buy cars –she must in order to keep the 90+ Key Hyundai employees working here in Connecticut. But providing solutions to Connecticut car buyers looking to trade in, buy a used reliable car, or a brand new Hyundai all have different needs. And these people are more likely to buy cars from an automotive and finance expert who meets their needs with practical solutions, rather than a sell-at-all-costs product pusher.
How do we know? Because this mission and vision has been successful for over a decade now. We’re proud to say Key Hyundai customers become friends, and return again and again, and send in their friends and family to get the automotive solutions they need.
Providing solutions is a huge success, making Jill one of the only female car dealers in the State of Connecticut with successful car dealerships serving both the Hartford area with Key Hyundai of Manchester and the coastline with Key Hyundai of Milford.
With constant compassion and ethics infused into everything she does, Jill’s repeat and referral business and attention to service after the sale truly make her the Dealer For The People. She’s committed to helping all Connecticut buyers get the automotive and financing solutions they need, when they need it.
Dealer For The People didn’t happen by accident. Jill was looking for a slogan and realized she always tells people she is a dealer for the people …voilà! Jill Merriam and Key Hyundai – the Dealer For The People!
The key to Jill’s story is that if you attempt anything from the right spot: a moral and ethical standpoint, and take care of fulfilling the customer’s needs with personal attention, success will follow!
Even more important than being the Dealer For The People, Jill is proud mom to son Brady, and daughter Carly, and loves to coach soccer, drive carpool to gymnastics, watch baseball games, and help out in the classroom whenever she can, with more than one kid yelling, “Look! I’m Jill Merriam, and I’m the Dealer For The People!”
Fulfilling the needs of those she loves best, her children and the Connecticut community she calls home, helps her be a better person and run a better business.
This is the mission and vision for Jill Merriam, the Dealer For The People.
To reach Jill directly, email her at