The Newspaper Boy Who Bought Over 70 Auto Dealerships
Steve Landers is a businessman and philanthropist from Benton (Saline County) who founded Arkansas’s largest chain of automotive dealerships.
A Young Entrepreneur With a Phenomenal Work Ethic
Steve Landers was born in Benton on September 23, 1953, to Bob and Bonnie Landers. Reportedly, when Landers was five years old, he would walk to the Benton Courier office to buy newspapers using his allowance; he bought them for three cents each and then sold them on the street for five cents each. As a young man, he attended livestock and automotive auctions with his maternal step-grandfather, who taught him the art of buying, trading, and selling for profit. At the age of twelve, Landers began working at a gas station in Benton, and by the time he was fourteen, he was washing cars at a local Oldsmobile dealership, earning $1.00 an hour; he also washed dishes at a local restaurant.
In 1970, Landers was working at a hardware store in Benton. That year, he got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Lynn (Sandy) McMahan, and obtained a permit to sell cars at a dealership in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1971, Landers graduated from Benton High School. However, because his grades were so low, he was given a “blank” diploma and forced to attend summer school.
Landers married Sandy McMahan on July 12, 1972; the Landerses had two sons.
The same year, Landers took a substantial pay cut by going to work at the same dealership as his father for a salary of $300 a week. After learning from his father for a year, Landers traded his salary for a commission-based income. When he sold enough cars to earn a $300 check, matching his former salary, the general manager refused to pay him.
In protest, Steve and Bob Landers decided to quit and start their own business. Together, they founded what became Landers Auto Group. The first Landers dealership opened in Benton in 1972. This Auto Group would eventually become the largest in the state of Arkansas, going on to partner with big names in the automotive industry like Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty and Roger Penske.
Steve’s Accomplishments & Contributions
Steve is more than a successful businessman. He is an accomplished and active member of the community.
Not Ready To Retire
In 2016, Steve sold Steve Landers Auto Group to his son, Scott, and Luther Automotive, with plans to retire. However, Steve can’t sit back and watch Little Rock continue to go downhill. He strives to make Little Rock a better place for you, your children, and your grandchildren to live.
That's What Steve Said
I believe in doing the right thing. In my personal life, I have not always done the right thing, but in my business life, I have always done what I think is right. As a result, I can call anyone today, and they know I will treat them the right way. Most will indicate they like me, but
all will say I treated them fairly and gave them whatever I promised.
Putting Little Rock on the Path to A Better Future
Steve’s story shows his continuous determination and strong work ethic, which he’s ready to use to serve the city of Little Rock.