Tony Marji, Select Express Auto
On this episode of Working: Syracuse, Tony Marji talks about what it takes to be a successful used-car-dealership owner. An automotive enthusiast, Marji managed to find a career that allowed him to spend his days surrounded by the objects of his passion — cars. Life as a business owner keeps his schedule full, but after his heart attack a few years ago, Marji decided to focus on the important things in life: his relationships with his family and finding contentment within himself.

Always in a rush to do the next thing while finding time for his adult sons, the extroverted 46-year-old comes off as the prototypical used-car salesman despite priding himself on his honesty with his customers. He smokes Marlboro Lights incessantly in and around his small building on the side of U.S. Highway 5 and greets all-comers with a firm handshake from his callused hands. Marji or his partner fix most of the used cars (emphasis on used) before the roadworthy vehicles take a spot in the line along the highway.

Befitting a man devoted to mobility, Marji has moved around a lot. He's from California, but he moved to Yonkers, N.Y. and then Wampsville, N.Y. (nearby Syracuse) early in his lifetime. "If you want to talk about a culture shock, I had two, three major culture shocks," he says. "Because you go from sunny San Diego to the hustle and bustle of Yonkers, N.Y., which is the city life, and then you leave the city life and move into a small country town like Wampsville."