Ask anyone who the "all-star" of the Bronxville, NY Yankee Auto Parts is, and they'll tell you: Bob Jeter.
Jeter, 65, is retiring at the end of this month after 40 memorable years at the branch. Working his way up the chain from gasket salesman to store manager in an impressive 2 years, he won many accolades from Yankee corporate headquarters, including "Rookie Employee Of The Year" in 1975 and several "MVP sales" awards, including a "three-peat" of three consecutive awards from 1978-1980.
Deeply respected by his peers, Jeter established an untarnished reputation for unflappable professionalism when dealing with difficult customers and making what others considered nearly impossible sales pitches.
"I saw him once sell a whole exhaust system to a guy who came in only looking for an air freshener", said Saul O'Neill, a former coworker. "The guy is incredible".
Analysts predict, however, that Yankee Auto Parts will struggle mightily in Jeter's absence. Despite some promising young sales talent, no one in the store seems poised to take on Jeter's role as a leader, let alone store manager.
"Yankee will fall to last place in sales in Bronxville behind Boston Automotive, who acquired some serious, major-league talent when they hired Johann Sesspides to run their shop", said Barrold Reynold, an analyst with EAPN, the Eastern Auto Parts Network. "It'll take them years to recover the clients they're about to lose".
Despite this, Jeter remains confident he's making the right choice. "I've spent 40 years selling the Yankee brand to people", he said recently. "It's time to hang up the uniform".
A rumor that Jeter was offered a consulting position with New York Metropolitan Car Care could not be confirmed.