Chris Alper: Saleswoman makes car-buying a positive experience
October 23, 2008
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles for The Women of Tahoe, a special section of theTribune celebrating South Shore women who are a vital part of our community.
Someone shopping for a car at Cardinale Way in South Lake Tahoe might be surprised when they meet Chris Alper, who differs from the stereotypical car salesperson in several ways.
First of all, Alper is a woman in a male-dominated field. And she’s lasted 10 years in car sales, a relatively long time.
But mostly, customers might notice Alper’s lack of pushiness.
“I feel like I’m there to help them,” Alper said. “I don’t like when people push me, so I don’t push them.”
Buying a car “shouldn’t be a traumatic experience,” she added.
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The dealership previously was Shehadi Motors but was purchased by Cardinale last year. It sells new Toyota, Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles.
The business recently became a Toyota-certified used-car dealership and has increased its inventory of used cars, adding more vehicles in the lower price range.
Alper worked for the dealership while it was Shehadi and has stayed under the new ownership.
The 51-year-old Meyers resident came to Tahoe in 1979 after growing up in Pennsylvania and living in San Diego for five years. After arriving in Tahoe, Alper waitressed for awhile and ran a print shop with her then-husband. She turned to car sales to support the family when she became a single mother.
She didn’t think she would like selling cars but found she enjoyed it.
Alper’s customers may get a hint of another side of her life if they notice the fountain and bonsai tree on her desk.
Alper and her sister, Maxine, have been working for the past two years on guided-meditation CDs that they hope to start selling soon. They’re developing two different CDs: one that focuses on relieving stress and becoming more grounded, and another one designed to help lead people toward their goals.
The sisters plan to promote the CDs through a Web site and perhaps offer weekend workshops at local yoga studios.
Maxine Alper said her sister “brings a sense of integrity to everything she does.”
The two seemingly different sides of her sister are linked by Chris’ desire to help people improve their lives, Maxine said. Chris Alper expressed a similar view.
“I’m here to help people,” she said. “Whether it’s helping them to buy a car, or helping them to find a place of inner peace.”