Eric Keller had a problem that was keeping him up nights. It was fall semester 2000, and he needed $100,000 over the next four years to pay for his education. One sleepless night, the freshman decided to do what he knew best—buy and sell cars, something he’d done in high school. So Keller bought a used BMW, fixed a few things and sold it for a profit. The wheels were in motion. Four years and about 120 cars later, Keller graduated with majors in entrepreneurial studies and marketing and launched Car Locators, a Cincinnati company specializing in hard-to-find luxury cars for discriminating buyers.
Most Car Locators’ customers are career professionals who may not have the time—about 20 hours—to find a particular car. “We are only interested in dealing with the top 5 to 10 percent of quality cars that you’ll find on the open market,” Keller says. “I only buy cars I would drive personally.”
Further refining the niche, Keller makes it a point to stock limited-production models whenever possible. And he’ll go just about anywhere—most recently the Netherlands—to get what he’s looking for. This spring, Keller’s brother Evan joined the company after graduating from the University. Thus far, the company has grossed about $2.7 million, often via their web site,www.CarLocatorsInc.com. And, yes, Keller sleeps much better these days.