Gregg Kunes was recognized as a top five finalist for the 2022 TIME Dealer of the Year by leaders from TIME and Ally Financial at the 105th National Automobile Dealers Association Show. TIME Dealer of the Year is an annual celebration of the finest representatives of our industry – dealers with a relentlessly charitable spirit.
In December of 2021, Gregg was awarded Wisconsin’s Dealer of the Year Award by Time Magazine. He was one of 47 nominees out of nearly 16,000 dealers across the country to attend the Las Vegas ceremony and represent Wisconsin. Now in its 53rd year, the TIME Dealer of the Year award is one of the auto industry’s most prestigious and highly coveted honors
Gregg was celebrated with the other nominees for the many ways auto dealers are doing it right in their industry and giving back with extraordinary contributions to their community.
Scott Kunes, COO, made the announcement to all 2,000 employees over the weekend via their employee announcement portal. “We are proud to announce that while Gregg was not Time Dealer of the Year, he was a Top Five Finalist! I know in our hearts he’s the real winner! This award goes out to all of our team members at Kunes who work so hard and give so much. He wouldn’t be here without you!”
Today, the Kunes Auto Group encompasses 29 auto dealerships and 11 RV facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, and five of his children currently work for the family enterprise.
“I think of being a car dealer as a way to improve people’s lives,” nominee Kunes said. “If this was just about selling cars, I would be bored by now. We’re here to build up our employees, customers and communities, and help make them better than when we arrived.”
Kunes is very proud that his dealerships have made the Automotive News Best Dealerships to Work For list 39 times since 2012. “The award is given to only 100 dealers a year and is largely based on employee feedback,” he said. “To know that I’ve been able to build an organization that treats their team better than most of the competition is very gratifying.”
Kunes also gives back to the retail auto industry by serving as a district board member for the Wisconsin Automobile & Truck Dealers Association. “I love this industry, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work to create a better business environment for dealers in Wisconsin in whatever capacity I can,” Kunes said.
He shares that same willingness to help on a local level. He is dedicated to aiding individuals with poor credit by offering them the ability to buy a car. “We do a great deal of subprime business and strive to make sure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect,” Kunes said.
In addition, he established the Kunes Family Foundation to facilitate charitable giving in the United States and abroad. “We donate 10 percent of gross profits – more than $1 million per year – to charities, specifically those that help the underprivileged,” he said. “We’ve always been dedicated to helping food pantries, homeless shelters, churches, schools and other humanitarian services in the communities we serve. Additionally, we’ve been able to build two orphanages in India, including funding a school and providing an ambulance.”
He is particularly proud of his work for the Geneva National Foundation, for which he was a board member from 2010 to 2018. This group is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals living with developmental disabilities in Walworth County, Wisconsin.
“While on the board, we worked to fund facilities that serve our special needs community and were able to provide a fully accessible aquatic center for the special needs school, build a work-training facility and so much more,” Kunes said.
Kunes has also donated trucks and vans to local ministries and pantries; helped fund a building acquisition for the Open Arms Free Clinic in Elkhorn, Wisconsin; sent his IT team to retrofit a school in an underfunded neighborhood with working Wi-Fi and provided computers for every classroom; stocks food pantries; and much more.
“The growth we’ve seen in the dealerships has allowed me to give beyond what I could ever imagine,” he said. “I can only hope that we make ripples of positive impact for years to come.”