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100 Years Young



If Seldon “Jack” Olsen drove down the freeways of Utah today, he’d see billboards celebrating “100 Years Young” – a century of operations for Young Automotive Group, the company he started when he was 25 years old. 

In 1924, Olsen was a partner owner of a small repair shop in Morgan, Utah. Soon after, he bought all of the company's shares and signed his first Oldsmobile selling agreement to turn the shop into a dealership.

A century later, Olsen’s great-grandson Spencer Young Jr. leads the auto group, which now has 20 automotive dealerships across three states, as well as 8 powersports locations. The company also runs various operations, including their truck and trailer, tractor, collision, car wash, lube shop and auto wrap divisions. 

While Olsen expanded to include two Chevrolet franchises during his tenure leading the company, the most significant growth period followed the Great Recession of 2008. At the time of the financial crisis, four of the five Young dealerships carried General Motors. 

Young describes that time as the most impactful of his career. 

“The lessons learned coming out of the financial crisis and setting our company up for the future, they taught our group a lot,” he says. 

The main lesson? Grow and diversify. In the following years, Young Automotive expanded to more markets, added franchises and diversified into powersports and other transportation services. The group now employs over 1,800 people. 

And as the company has grown, so has its community impact. Since Young’s parents (Spencer Sr. and Sherry Young) established their philanthropic foundation, it has contributed more than $6 million to local education and youth nonprofit organizations in Utah, Montana and Idaho. [Read more about Young Caring for Our Young Foundation.]

Even as the company and its impact have grown, the family culture that Jack treasured remains. 

“I think that [Jack Olsen] would be extremely proud that we’ve kept it in the family and that we have so many family members working with each other,” Young says. 

Today, Young works alongside four of his siblings and a cousin, all of whom grew up in the dealership. The vice president, Kelly Moss, has been with Young Automotive since he was 18 years old. 

“We all grew up together,” Spencer says. “It may be odd to be in a family business where we all get along really well, but we do.”

Just as Olsen started his career as a repair technician over a century ago, the Young family has maintained the tradition of proving their worth through hard work. When Sam Young married Jack’s youngest daughter, Bertie, he joined Olsen Chevrolet as a bookkeeper. His sons began their dealership careers as lot technicians washing cars. Spencer Jr. started in the business at age 13 picking weeds, then worked his way first through the service department, then sales before entering management and leadership positions. 

“There are no scholarships in our group,” Young says. “You come to work. If you work, you get paid. If not, you don’t.” 

This legacy of hard work supports the culture developed by the Young family. Even as the group has grown, it remains a family business: the Young family, families of employees working alongside each other and families of customers who return for generations. 

“That’s why I’m extremely bullish on the auto industry,” Young says. “If you create the best customer experience, I think that’s going to be the dealer or group that succeeds no matter what.”

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