“We create a very exclusive dealership in that we’ll sell to anybody, but all of our customers are our friends and they stay very close to us.”
While most kids were playing sports and hanging out, Adam Gordon was at work.
“My punishment growing up was that I couldn’t go to my dad’s office,” he said. The 20-year-old owner and CEO of Fort Lauderdale Collection South, an exotic car dealership on Sunrise Boulevard, was born into his trade. Instilled with the philosophy of “you don’t work to live, you live to work,” it’s no surprise Gordon has accomplished so much so young.
His grandfather father owned an Exotic Automobile Dealership in For Lauderdale, where Gordon spent most of his childhood. His grandfather had a deep love for cars; he first funded dealerships then opened one of his own. When he sold, Gordon’s father opened Fort Lauderdale Collection in Pompano. The then even younger Gordon recognized the huge market for potential expansion, and the original dealership grew while he opened Fort Lauderdale Collection South.
Gordon is in a unique position in the car industry because of a financing component.
“We were really the ‘creators’ of independent financing,” he said “[We] formed a leasing company to cater to all needs of personal finance; whatever the case may be, we tailor to all of their needs.”
Those with hopes of becoming a CEO one day usually start by obtaining college degrees. In Gordon’s case, a love for numbers and a short but significant lifetime of experience beat out the need for a diploma. The realization that school wasn’t for him came unexpectedly while he was completing a deal with a customer during class one day.
“I’ll never forget I was sitting in class on my Blackberry finishing the email of the Bill of Sale and my wiring instructions for a customer to wire me the money,” he said. “My teacher said, ‘Hey Mr. Gordon, please put your phone away.’ And at that moment I kind of looked up in disarray, and I didn’t want to be rude, but I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I have to leave.’ And at that moment it hit me – why am I sitting in class learning when I could be using what I already have to benefit myself and my family?”
That passion, combined with his knowledge of numbers has created great success for Gordon; and he reaps the benefits of growing up in a family business.
“I got to see happiness through business, which was really a unique experience,” he said. “I got to see my grandfather every day, that’s where I got to see my dad every day, see them doing something they loved. Coming to work every day makes me happy.”
Gordon’s success is also partly due to his partner, Steve Goldstrom, who was his dad’s partner at the original Fort Lauderdale Collection. “Steve decided to jump back in the arena with me, and I thank God every day that he did,” Gordon said. “With my knowledge of buying and putting together cars right and his knowledge of sales tactics and promoting a store, it really was a great blend. His knowledge and wisdom is something money can’t buy.”
Fort Lauderdale Collection caters to a vast array of clientele, from the music industry’s biggest rap stars to the highest grossing actors to politicians and world leaders. They keep their elite customer base happy with impeccable service and an unrivaled collection of unique and superior cars.
“The service is uncompromising,” Gordon said. Fort Lauderdale Collection also prides itself on unparalleled service – like short-notice, 4 a.m. deliveries, for one.
The dealership prides itself on their dedication to keeping their customers happy, so much so that many customers become like family.
“We create a very exclusive dealership in that we’ll sell to anybody, but all of our customers are our friends and they stay very close to us,” Gordon said.
They also provide service to the community through charities like Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, which helps children in need, filling about 100 cars with toys and delivering them to kids. “We like to help in any way we can,” Gordon said.
Of course, their main source of pride comes from their distinctive set of vehicles. Some of their most unique pieces include the GT2 racecar and the Ferrari 550 Barchetta, one of only 447 in the world. According to Gordon, they select the cars based on details that set the cars apart from the others, whether it’s the color or the stitching.
“When we buy, that’s what we look for—how can we convey the message that this is not an ordinary Ferrari, this is not an ordinary Bentley?” he said. Customers of Fort Lauderdale Collection have access to cars that aren’t available anywhere else in the world.
It’s that knowledge and passion for cars that made customers trust Gordon even when he was younger and had to lie about his age. Just a few years later, his age is hardly an obstacle. “I think people, if anything, like it because it shows that America, so-to-speak, is really creating people like me,” Gordan said. “And it’s a cool idea. It’s different.”
An avid watch collector, thanks to Bobby Yampolsky of East Coast Jewelry, Gordon treats his passion for watches the same way he treats his love of cars. “Watches kind of relate to cars in that I like things that are different,” he said. “It’s not just what’s the most expensive car or most expensive watch. It’s [about] developing a personality through the things that you own.”
True to his word, Gordon keeps a piece of his personality displayed in his office. There sits a Ferrari 308 GTS miniature go-kart, a symbol of his family and his work. It was presented to Gordon on his 5th birthday by his father and was even used as the sign-in board at his Bar Mitzvah. Restored since then, the go-kart reminds Gordon of where he came from.
It’s so special that, if he had to choose just one car out of the incredible pieces he has access to, it would be that one. “The only real car that I would keep or own for the rest of my life would be that go-kart,” he said. “Obviously I couldn’t drive it every day,” he laughed.
Gordon’s future plans for Fort Lauderdale Collection are to grow the brand through opening more locations while keeping the quality of service impeccable. “I want it to be the biggest in the world, and really have meaning behind that,” he said. “Not just the biggest showroom or the biggest name. The biggest company.”
Surely, wherever he is twenty years from now, it will be somewhere big. “Hopefully, on Forbes,” he laughs. We think he’ll make it.