The Vassallo Interviews — Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor who interviews Oxford’s and our region’s leading personalities.
Steve said: “Michael Joe Cannon exemplifies the classic American entrepreneur. Here is an individual who would not be denied and pursued his passion at a time in his life when an easier path to possible success was available. Everyone can applaud his determination and success!”
HottyToddy.com — Michael Joe, how’s business?
Michael Joe Cannon — It’s been very good for us. However, there is still room for growth. We’re not as strong as the 2006 volume, but the Oxford market is good and getting better.
HottyToddy.com — How long have you been at this location (100 West Thacker Loop)?
Michael Joe Cannon — It was two years in December. We now have seven locations for new vehicles and three for used vehicles. We will soon be unveiling our new name — Cannon Motors of Mississippi.
HottyToddy.com — Describe the buying trends with consumers compared to 4-5 years ago.
Michael Joe Cannon — More options are being purchased now. A couple of examples are dual DVD systems and adaptive cruise control. Because we are now acclimated to higher gas prices, the trend is back to more full size vehicles such as SUV’s.
HottyToddy.com —You are now among Oxford’s larger private sector employers.
Michael Joe Cannon — We employ 68 at this location and 300 organization-wide. We expect to grow at this location.
HottyToddy.com — Tell us a little about your background and how you and Cheryl met.
Michael Joe Cannon — In the summer of 1986 I was faced with a major career decision following a family emergency. I was the assistant offensive line coach at Ole Miss at the time. Rather than continue with football, I decided to pursue my passion in the automotive business. Cheryl and I met during college in Memphis. She was a cheerleader at the time I was playing college football.
HottyToddy.com — How do your car sales vary by month?
Michael Joe Cannon — Typically March and April are very good months with January being the weakest. December is traditionally good. The months here in Oxford have been very steady. April has been our best month thus far in 2014 with a 15 percent increase over the prior year.
HottyToddy.com — Are the Ole Miss students good customers?
Michael Joe Cannon —They are very good! Their primary business is service and body shop, although parents do buy cars for the students while they are attending Ole Miss.
HottyToddy.com — Is the Oxford market unique to other markets?
Michael Joe Cannon — Yes. The university ‘drives’ so many people back to Oxford. Our visibility here is excellent especially on game days. Saturdays have changed drastically since we moved to this new location. Previously, Saturdays were like a day off.
HottyToddy.com — What drives you, no pun intended?
Michael Joe Cannon — If you become satisfied, you get complacent. I want to be the very best that I can be. Our motto is to strive for perfection and settle for no less than excellence.
HottyToddy.com — Are you looking for Ole Miss grads to supplement your workforce?
Michael Joe Cannon — Absolutely. An Ole Miss grad will really want to remain here opposed to possible better opportunities elsewhere. We feel we can keep them here.
HottyToddy.com —How would you describe Oxford as a market within the state?
Michael Joe Cannon — Off the top of my head, I would rate Oxford 5th behind Jackson; Southaven; Hattiesburg; and Tupelo.
HottyToddy.com — What has been your biggest surprise since coming to Oxford?
Michael Joe Cannon — I don’t know that I would classify it as a surprise, but I’m very pleased and most proud of our customer retention.
HottyToddy.com — I don’t want to place you on the spot, but will you have mixed emotions when Ole Miss faces Memphis on September 27th?
Michael Joe Cannon — Absolutely. I grew up (Calhoun City) being an Ole Miss fan, but ended up playing in Memphis. I’m glad Memphis is back on the schedule. In 1981 the largest crowd ever at Memphis Memorial Stadium watched these two rivals square off. It’s a great rivalry and good for both schools.
HottyToddy.com — What is Cheryl’s favorite model of car?
Michael Joe Cannon — It would be a toss up between the Buick Encore and the Chevrolet Equinox. These models are easy to maneuver.
HottyToddy.com — What is the key to your success?
Michael Joe Cannon — Two things. The success of our business is customer satisfaction. And equally the success of our business is dedicated employees. We were voted the Best Dealership in Oxford (this year) for both new and used cars by the Oxford Eagle.
Final Note: Michael Joe is truly focused on customer satisfaction as it shows throughout the entire dealership. Cannon Motors of Mississippi is growing for all the right reasons with Oxford trending higher and higher.
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. In addition, he is a certified economic and community developer and currently, a highly successful leader in the real estate business with Premier Properties of Oxford. Steve’s lifelong dream has been to live in Oxford full-time. “I am now living my dream daily as is my wife Rosie, who works with the Oxford Chamber of Commerce,” Steve said. You can contact Steve at email@example.com call him at 985-852-7745.