On a perfect Tuesday afternoon in mid October, Peggy Sprenger, general manager at Manheim Kansas City, decided to be a little destructive for a good cause.
Sprenger was one of the first people to pick up a mallet, walk over to an old Lincoln Town Car, and smash it.
Of course, there was a good reason why a car was going to be destroyed at a place that facilitates well over a thousand car transactions each week between registered dealers in an in-lane and online auction.
On Oct. 13 and 14, Manheim Kansas City was celebrating the 70th year of business for Manheim, and the car show event in the parking lot Tuesday was a way to thank its customers while also raising funds and breast cancer awareness for Susan G. Komen of Greater Kansas City.
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“For $5, they can take a mallet and hit the car,” Sprenger said. “We are going to crush the car to nothing and take money for doing it.”
Throughout the month of October, Manheim Kansas City raises money for Susan G. Komen. Last year it raised $11,000. Sprenger is optimistic the total will be higher this year.
“We did the Susan G. Komen walk at Worlds of Fun at the end of September and we had 90 of our employees do that walk,” Sprenger said last week. “Currently, we have raised $7,000 and we are only in the second week of the month.”
Komen is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1 billion since its inception in 1982. Komen’s promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find cures.
Maggie Swenson, program and events coordinator at Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City, set up a table at Manheim Kansas City on Oct. 13 and was passing out information on breast cancer awareness.
Swenson said they are very appreciative of their community partners like Manheim Kansas City, that help raise money and awareness to fight breast cancer.
Komen Kansas City serves 17 counties in Missouri and Kansas. Seventy-five percent of the money raised by community partners is funneled back into the community and the remaining 25 percent goes to national research.
“Our community partners are huge for Komen Kansas City,” Swenson said. “It is really important for us to get the information out to people about breast self awareness and what they need to know about their own breast health.
“It is always important for us to have new places to go and reach out to new audiences who maybe don’t get this education.”
The audience on Oct. 13 was car buyers, sellers and enthusiasts who showed off their classic cars in the car show. It is the first time Manheim Kansas City has had this type of car celebration.
Manheim Kansas City contacted the Kansas City Automotive Museum to help put together the car show.
“They asked us if we could get 20 to 25 cars,” said Luke Spence, curator at the museum, who made calls to make sure there were classic and unique cars at the event. “It is fantastic to hear from them. Being able to work with someone that is tied into the Kansas City car community as much as they are for so many years is a fantastic opportunity for us.”
Manheim , Sprenger said, is the leading provider in the used car service.
“We connect buyers and sellers of used vehicles to the largest wholesale used vehicle marketplace,” Sprenger said. “We are the wholesale place for buyers and sellers to come together and do business. All we do is facilitate the transactions. We do not own any vehicles.”
The weekly auctions are not open to the public.
Manheim, based in Atlanta, operates more than 700 auctions each week at 79 locations across North America, including Kansas City.
Manheim Kansas City, 3901 N. Skiles Ave. in Kansas City, employees 300 people and on a weekly bases will facilitate 1,700 transactions.
The Wednesday auction usually begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends around noon. During that time, the auction runs 12 lanes at the facility and also online.
“Yearly, we will have 83,000 customers, whether in-lane or online,” Sprenger said. “Online has made a huge difference. A lot of our buyers today don’t have the time to go out and buy at an auction. It has made it more convenient for them to buy from their home or from their desk in their office. They can buy cars online with confidence.”
The auction is always fascinating. Manheim Kansas City will sell a car for as low as $100 to as much as $100,000.
“We sell all different price ranges,” Sprenger said. “The average is $9,000.”
One of Manheim Kansas City’s regular customers is Obada Mustafa, who has been buying cars for Joe Machens BMW dealership in Columbia, Mo., for nearly eight years.
Mustafa, who now lives in Kansas City, also works for Universal Auto Exports, which exports cars overseas. On Tuesday evening, he pulled out a fistful of $100 bills, showing he was ready for Wednesday’s auction.
“Every day is different,” Mustafa said. “Every day you are going to get a new car to look at, a new car to buy. It is exciting, but it can be stressful at times. Nobody wants to buy a junker.
“I have to do my homework. I have to buy it right on the money otherwise I would be fired. I’ve been doing it for almost eight years so I think I have the hang of it.”
Mustafa, who also buys cars in St. Louis, said he enjoys working with the people at Manheim Kansas City.
“The people who work here, the staff and just the whole transaction, from start to finish, is very convenient, no hassle,” Mustafa said.
The car show on Oct. 13 was the perfect way to say thank you, Sprenger said.
“If it wasn’t for our employees and customers, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” she said.