After more than 50 years of service in the auto industry, car salesman Parley Johnson prepares to drive off into the sunset and begin a new chapter in his life. Johnson will enter retirement this week, ending a sales career that began in 1960.
After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Johnson returned to Price where he attended Carbon College. “I decided to get a degree through the G.I. Bill,” he recalled. “I was working at the time, but the day I graduated college, I also lost my job. That’s when I went to Kraync Motors and began selling cars.”
Johnson found a home at Kraync Motors and learned quickly how to seal a deal. This skill would be passed on many years later to Tony Basso, who also had humble beginnings at the small dealership.
“I worked weekends at Kraync Motors detailing cars. That’s when I met Parley,” Basso explained. “He, along with Karl and Frank Kraync, taught me how to sell.”
Little did anyone know at that time, but Basso would open one of the state’s most successful dealerships where Johnson would work for many years until retirement.
Over the years, Johnson has witnessed many changes in the auto industry. The most noteworthy change in his mind is fuel standards.
“Way back when I started, there were no additives in the gas,” he explained. “All the engines were pretty standard and there were no emission laws. Today, everything is about fuel economy and what is good for the environment. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it is a big change from when I started.”
Fuel prices have dramatically changed since 1960 as well. Johnson recalls gas prices at $.35 per gallon. “Those were the good old days,” he joked. “Now, auto manufacturers are finding ways to stretch a gallon of gas and using hybrid technology.”
One thing that has stayed constant during Johnson’s career is his choice of vehicle. “I like Buicks,” he stated firmly. “My wife Bonnie drives a Lacrosse and I have a ’96 Riviera. I have that thing spruced up and ready to go.”
Although Johnson has no specific plans for retirement, he does look forward to doing things on his schedule. “I can sleep in now if I want,” he joked. “It’s time for me to take care of myself and my health.”
It’s hard to say how many deals Johnson has completed over the years, but one thing is certain, he appreciates everyone who has purchased a vehicle from him. “I would like to say thank you to all my customers,” he stated. “I value my relationship with each and every one of them.”
As a lengthy career nears completion, a legacy will live on. “He has integrity, honesty and a great work ethic,” Basso explained. “He is the first one at work and the last one to leave. He is truly amazing.”
A retirement open house will be hosted in Johnson’s honor on Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 3-5 p.m. at Tony Basso GM.