At 8-years-old Diah Eljamal began going to work with his dad in the summer at a car dealership in Parkchester. He was fascinated and fell in love with automobiles.
Now, a decade later, the Yonkers resident sells 80 cars a month and is hoping to open his own place soon. While he sleeps and goes to school in Westchester, the majority of his time is spent in the Boogie Down.
“Honestly I love working in the Bronx,” he said. “If I had to choose where to live I would move to the Bronx.”
His dad, Majed, who has been in the business for more than two decades, originally had a mechanic shop on 1800 E Tremont Ave. between Beach and Taylor. It was there where Eljamal learned many things about cars, including how to fix, diagnose and price them.
Eljamal told the Bronx Times that as a child he looked up to his dad. He watched not only how he worked on the cars, but more importantly, how he dealt with people.
However, as a kid he did not fully grasp what his dad was trying to do for him.
“I used to get mad because my friends would go out and I was stuck with him,” he explained.
A few years ago they sold the shop and opened Car Plug of NY at 1225 E. 233rd St. in Wakefield. It was here where Eljamal has found his footing.
At first he would just take pictures, wash cars and tag along with his dad. Eventually it was time to sink or swim and sell on his own.
“I would be too scared to talk to people,” he recalled.
So, he made notes and soon made his first sale. Since then it has been smooth sailing. Eljamal has formed relationships, gotten referrals and fell in love with the Wakefield community.
The teen noted that many customers are shocked when they find out he’s just 18. In fact, he knows more people in the Bronx than his hometown of Yonkers.
Once he turned 16 Eljamal went worked there every day after school. He wanted to be successful like his dad and make people happy.
“When I turned 16 I had found my talent of selling vehicles and took this talent to my full potential ever since,” he said.
According to Eljamal, he is not in the business of ripping people off. He is there to serve their needs. None of his cars are over $10,000 nor does he finance.
Because of this and the reputation he has established, the youngster gets numerous calls every day about cars.
“Sometimes we only make $500 on a car, but the most important thing is to make customers happy,” he commented.
While this past year was tough on millions of people, including Eljamal, who lost his grandparents to COVID-19, it was actually a blessing in disguise for him.
He had more time to work and the shop was quite busy.
They were typically selling at a small scale until last year when the company put Eljamal’s phone number on the lots wall. This tripled their sales within a couple months and it got to a point where they would run out of cars to sell.
With aspirations of going to college for business and opening his own shop, Eljamal sees a bright future for himself. His dad taught him he can do whatever he wants in life as long as he puts the work in.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” he stated. “Instead of my father giving me money, he would teach me how to make money. I would take those lessons and use them into my daily life with selling his cars.”