Jerry Cousin Jr.’s journey from car salesman to car dealer took him from the East Coast to the South Pacific, and from Dixieland to the Land of Lincoln. He brought his idea of treating customers like a sports team’s “most valuable player” to the Milwaukee area last year when he took ownership of the former Boyland Honda store in Greenfield and renamed it ALL-STAR Honda.

All-Star Honda partners: Mark Wade, Jerry Cousin Jr., Jerry Cousin Sr., Jon Palmen.

“My wife Kirsten and I like the people here,” he said. “Where we live, on the north side of Kenosha, we get the best of being in a smaller community, but also of having Chicago and Milwaukee nearby for what big cities have to offer.” Cousin grew up in North Carolina. He studied economics in college, but put his degree on hold to sell cars. Twenty-three years later he jokes about the length of his one-year hiatus. After he’d worked himself up through the ranks to general sales manager in North Carolina, he visited his parents, who were living in Hawaii. That vacation turned into a move to the Big Island, where Cousin ran a Honda dealership that grew rapidly and received the company’s President’s Award — an honor claimed by only 15% of all Honda stores. His goal, though, was to own a store. An opportunity presented itself in Alabama, but when it fell through, Honda’s recruiters recommended him to run a dealership in northern Illinois. A year later, in 2010, he took the helm of a fast-growing, President’s Award-winning, dealership in Kenosha. He sold his interest in 2013 and asked Kirsten where she’d like to live next. She listed five places — and Cousin said he was astonished to see Wisconsin was one of them. “She’s a Hawaii girl, and we joke about what the weather’s like here compared to there,” Cousin said. “But she teaches third grade in Racine, and has really come to like the area and the people.” Within a year, he entered into negotiations to buy Boyland along with his father, Jerry Cousin Sr., and local entrepreneurs Jon Palmen and Mark Wade.

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