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“WHO REALLY IS STEVE GRINDSTAFF?” By Ashley Grindstaff Many people around always want to know, who really is the man behind the dark sunglasses and pin stripped suits, that calls himself “The Boss?” You want my honest opinion? Well, “The Boss?” we’ll get to that in a minute. But, I can tell you who Steve Grindstaff is. He’s a bluntly honest, down to earth, compassionate, driven, humble, hard-working, and benevolent man. You may be asking, “Are you talking about the same Steve Grindstaff that I am thinking of?” Yes I am. In fact, many people don’t quite understand [or] yet even know my husband, Steve Grindstaff. If you have a few minutes, sit back and I will tell you the real story how he came to be “The Boss.” Born and raised in Elizabethton, Tennessee, Steven Edward Grindstaff was born on November 13 (don’t think I am going to tell you what year, that’s still a mystery) to Thomas and Edna Grindstaff. Thomas was an Elizabethton Police officer and Edna a textile worker. The two made ends meet to provide for their family. As a young boy, Steven relied on his family for hand-me-downs and grew up mainly at his maternal-grandmothers home place where Sunday meals where a family tradition. As he grew older, he realized that wearing hand-me-downs with holes in his shoes and clothes just too big wasn’t what he

had in mind. . . especially if he wanted to attract girls. At the age of thirteen, he worked two jobs: one as a paperboy, getting up at 4:00am before each day of school, and the other mowing lawns. He was making more money than his parents. He got a taste of what a better life could be if you just believed and worked hard. School came very easy for Steven, never opening a book, making good grades and playing football. Did Steven ever get in trouble? The stories I could share would fill a book! With his very charismatic charm, he could sell ice to an Eskimo including his teachers. Football was his love. Once he knew that he could make something of himself, he put his whole being into becoming the best at it and he did. Steven Grindstaff would become Steve Grindstaff in high school, with his best friend, Larry Counts, right beside him on the field; the two have stayed life-long friends. With the highest football honors one can receive, Steve Grindstaff signed with the East Tennessee State University’s football program under Coach Robert Bell. Steve loved the game of football and one thing about his passion tells me you wouldn’t want to be on the other side of the line facing him because he played to knock you down so you wouldn’t come back up. There’s his drive and competitiveness kicking-in and that enthusiasm would later make him a car mogul. During his senior year on winter break, he decided to take a part-time job at Bunton Chevrolet in Elizabethton and that decision would change his destiny forever. In the one month working as a part-time salesman, he sold 42 cars and made more money than he would as a teacher combined with coaching football. Dropping out of college, with only one semester left to

Second grade Steve with his parents

May 2011

Jr. High School

PART I

graduate, Steve had no regrets because he saw his future in the car business. As quickly as he stepped foot on the car lot, he quickly obtained a “no-nonsense” attitude which can easily be mistaken as arrogance. The principles he learned in the game of football would be the same philosophy he adopted in the business world. He quickly became one of the top-selling salesmen in the entire State of Tennessee, earning the trust from his customers, who would come back time and time again to trade cars bringing along family and friends. Steve still has those same customers today that will tell you funny stories about him selling cars back then. Upon successfully achieving his goals in the car industry, he longed for more challenges. With his natural born selling skills, he wanted to try the real estate scene. He, along with Rab Summers and Richard Booth, developed Woodstone Condominiums. Steve became the sole real estate agent in the partnership and soon became a $100 million dollar real estate producer! His other love of selling cars convinced him that it was time to go back to Bunton Chevrolet and make them an offer to purchase the store. One thing Steve never liked when he was selling cars was, “Well we need to ask Bunton Jr. and Mr. Bunton’s permission for that.” Steve never liked to ask for permission. After convincing both parties, Steve Grindstaff bought Bunton Chevrolet in 1987. As sole owner, “The Boss” was born. Later in 1990, Grindstaff Chrysler and Dodge were added to the Elizabethton location, as well as Jeep in 1994 and he added KIA in 1996. If anyone lives in Elizabethton, they know how much Steve n See STEVE GRINDSTAFF, 15

High School

Salesman a t Bunton Chev rolet

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Steve Grindstaff n Continued from 3 has given back to his community for the blessings of his profound success. He realized the true importance of football and the principles that taught him the fundamentals of life. He felt the community’s future leaders would be coming from Elizabethton High School’s football program. Thus, he began providing pre-games meals and new uniforms in an effort to give back to a program he loved. He didn’t forget about the students who were academically successful either. He started the Carter County Awards Banquet, providing meals for the students and families along with trophies and scholarship money for students with earning the highest GPAs. Steve really doesn’t like to talk about what he does for kids or the community because it comes from his heart and his philosophy has always been, “When it comes from the heart you

don’t talk about it.” One probably wouldn’t think or know what an emotional person Steve is. But remember he came basically from nothing and has earned and achieved everything he has. . . all on his own. In the business world competition and criticism is hard to accept sometimes. But while Steve maybe as tough as nails in business but he is also a giving person. Many times he has discovered someone in need or learned about a situation where someone was trying their hardest to make something of themselves but was having a tough time at it. And many times he has been the first to step in to help without anyone knowing about it. That’s Steve Grindstaff. From humble beginnings, one can have it all if you just believe in yourself, continue to work hard and stay focused.

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Tennessee, The Monday Club of Johnson City honored the winners of The Monday Club’s annual Youth Poetry Contest with a reception at the Johnson City Public Library on Monday, April 11, 2011.The winners read their poems before their parents, teachers, principals, friends, and relatives, who were invited to attend. This competition was open to all students in public and private schools, grades 1-12 in the Johnson City area. It promotes creativity and challenges students to share thoughts inspired by writing in verse. Winners of the GFWC of Tennessee The Monday Club Poetry Contest were: First Place Parker Counselman – 1st grade, Providence Academy Clara Reynolds – 5th grade,

Providence Academy Cassandra Brooks – 8th grade Ashley Academy Corey Smith – 12th grade, Providence Academy Second Place James Carson Peters – 1st grade, Providence Academy Emma Hecht – 5th grade, St. Mary’s Hannah Ryans – 8th grade, Science Hill 8-9 Campus Ariel Huhn – 9th grade, Providence Academy Third Place Alexander Longo – 1st grade, St. Mary’s Wil Miller – Fairmont School Emily winters – 8th grade, Science Hill 8-9 Campus Christine Oglesby - 12th grade, Providence Academy Honorable Mention Tyrell Johnson – 1st grade,

Proud owner of Grindstaff Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge.

Poetry Winners Honored by Monday Club

May 2011

St. Mary’s Caroline Arze – 5th grade, St. Mary’s Thomas Clarity – 7th grade, St.Mary’s Abigail Eldridge – 10th grade, Providence Academy Winners of the GFWC of Tennessee District One Poetry Contest were: Category 1 – Parker Counselman - 3rd Place Category 2 – Emma Hecht – 1st Place Wil Miller – 3rd Place Category 3 – Cassandra Brooks – 3rd Place Hannah Ryans – 2nd Place Category 4 – Abigail Eldridge – 3rd Place Corey Smith – 2nd Place First Place Winner at the GFWC of Tennessee Convention held in Chattanooga, TN this last weekend: Emma Hecht, a student at St.

Winners of the GFWC of Tennessee The Monday Club Poetry Contest Standing Left to Right: Row 1(front)- James Carson Peters, Tyrell Johnson, Alexander Longo, Emma Hecht, Parker Counselman, Wil Miller, Clara Reynolds. Row 2(back)-Corey Smith, Thomas Clarity, Caroline Arze, Ariel Huhn, Emily Winters, Cassandra Brooks. (Not pictured: Abigail Eldridge, Christine Oglesby, Hannah Ryans)

Mary’s School, won first place in Category 2 at the District and State levels with her poem, “The Flower’s Last Laugh”. Her poem will now be sent to GFWC International in Wash-

ington, D.C. to be judged at the National level. The National winners will be announced at the GFWC International Convention held in Milwaukee, WI this June, 2011.

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Out 'N About - Steve Grindstaff