TJ Johnstone is our Business Manager and Sales Consultant. A native of Central Minnesota, TJ grew up along the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, and attended St. Cloud Technical High School and St. John's University. He never ventured too far from his roots, and he and his family live in St. Joseph today. Meet one of our guys, and hear his personal motto for being the best.
The Miller Five Star Experience
After attending St. John's, TJ joined the marine industry working at a few metro-based retailers until joining our team in 2010. Based off his previous experience at other showrooms, I asked TJ what's different about Miller Marine.
He replied with, "integrity and follow through with the customer. Our five core values guide us in everything we do at work. Tom (Miller) is pretty hands-on with the boat side of the business so he works closely with us. He instills a lot of his personal values in us. He realizes we’re not a marine dealer; we work alongside auto, the body shop, the service center. We need to take care of the customer not only from a marine standpoint but across all lines of business. We represent Miller as a whole. Tom always says if you take care of the customers, the customer will take care of you. We live by that. Traditional dealers may focus on the bottom line. Quotas. Inventory. At Miller Marine, we’re focused on the customer experience. If we do our job, the customer will come back. It’s as simple and as important as that."
Customer Service + Dedication
TJ is both a sales consultant and one of our Business Managers. He'll tell you why his position includes both roles.
"We’re unique in our operation as a marine dealer. Other dealerships follow an auto setup with the same financial process and paperwork system – that belongs to the business manager, who is separate from the sales team. At Miller, we have a unique system. Luke and I – the Business Managers – both sell full-time in addition to managing the financial aspect of the business. We wear a couple different hats. We’re salesmen. We’re business managers. We support our team. The reason we do that is because of our connection to the auto dealership. A typical marine showroom’s operation hours are 9-5 or 6. Not Miller Marine. We’re open 9-9 during the week and 9-6 on Saturdays. It takes both Luke and I to cover all those hours, and make sure our customers are getting the best experience, every single time they visit," TJ said.
Outside the Showroom
TJ recently had the biggest life change when he and his wife welcomed daughter Eliana who is 21 months old. He's been married to Jodi for nearly five years. Prior to becoming parents, TJ and Jodi were adventurous people who enjoy anything outdoors – camping, hunting, travel. And, the Johnstone family is planning to return to their adventurous sides while including their daughter. They're planning a big family trip with TJ's extended family out West - to Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park toward the end of summer.
TJ is just one of our team members committed to the Miller Marine experience, and he's a valuable part of the service we offer Central Minnesota. I asked him about a piece of advice or leadership style he applies to his career and he recalled some early advice he received when he entered the industry. TJ said, "I worked for a guy who told me, chase the dream, not the money and I never forgot that. That taught me to focus on the right things in business which will keep me happy and make me successful."