Juliann Torres is a truck expert at a local dealership

Juliann Torres, a Crenwelge Motors sales associate and Jeep and truck expert, shows off a new Jeep Gladiator, which offers the best of Jeeps and pickups.

Juliann Torres says her position as a sales associate at Crenwelge Motors involves selling new and used cars, but a lot of her expertise has to do with trucks.

She says, "My husband, Phillip Torres, and I got into restoring old trucks, and I love dealing with people, so it seemed natural to combine the two."

At Crenwelge she says she is a Jeep expert, qualified as an agriculture specialist, and certified for commercial sales.

"Jeeps are popular in the Hill Country," she says. "Besides ranch and off-road uses, it's RV country here, both full-time and snowbirds, and Jeeps are easily flat-towable." She and her husband have two Jeeps and a pickup.

Torres says she's also one of the two Chrysler specialists who handle internet correspondence. "A lot of people play on the internet, shopping and researching cars. About 10 to 15 percent of them are really serious. They'll email and say, 'Here's an ad from Boerne. What can you do?' It keeps us very competitive."

But she says she has some advantages at Crenwelge. "We're very customer-oriented. We don't have hidden fees, like when a dealer offers a vehicle for one price, but when you show up it has an alarm system that costs extra, and they won't remove it. And we have a good service department that we're constantly improving. Walk-in traffic has dropped, but making sure customers always get what they need generates repeat business and referrals."

She says some of that repeat business comes from people who move to the Hill Country with brands of cars that aren't sold or serviced here, but which the Crenwelge service department can handle. When those customers need a replacement, they're likely to purchase a Crenwelge vehicle to eliminate the hassle. "That's why I follow up with all my customers, and why the service department alerts us when a customer comes in. If a customer wants a Rhino Liner or grill-guard, I'll see that it gets done. We're selling cars now that have 12 to 50 personal settings, like pairing your phone, so new car delivery may take me 30 minutes to three hours."

Another part of her job, Torres says, is constant training. A lot of it is online, but she also attends classes, some locally and some in San Antonio. Sometimes she gets to do "ride-and-drive" with new models or features to keep current.

She says, "Right now, we're learning about models with parking-assist. You drive down an aisle in the H-E-B parking lot, push a button, select for a pull-in space instead of parallel, and when the car gets to an empty space it tells you to let go of the steering wheel. You control the gas pedal, but the car guides itself into the space."

She also helps her concerned customers. She says, "We get a lot of calls, or customers will walk in, because they've gotten letters saying their warranty is expiring and offering to 'renew' it. They may have years left on their coverage. It's the biggest scam we have to contend with as auto dealers."

Torres says she was born in Salt Lake City, and graduated from Kearns High School. She started dancing when she was three, participated in dance and drill teams in school, and grew up to be a member of the Rocky Mountain Folk Dancers. They travelled to festivals world-wide where they performed clogging and exhibition square dances. She also sang, with members of her family, at family events.

She says, "I often sang with my mother, and one of the hardest things I did was sing at her funeral. But you can find the sun, if you only search."

After high school, she says she earned an associate's degree from Snow College, in Ephraim, in applied science. She also attended Utah State University for a year. She worked for a vending service, then became a loan officer for First Security Bank.

In 1985 she says she met Phillip Torres at a Mormon Church Meet-and-Greet, and they married in 1987. "Phillip and I built our home in Jordan, Utah. I owned a Merle Norman studio for 15 years, then worked with special needs children at Terra Linda School and Wasatch Canyons. I also helped Phillip with his business, 'Elegance in Antlers,' making furnishings, from tables to chandeliers, featuring antlers. We discovered the Hill Country installing furniture in lodges here. We bought our first property in the Hill Country in 2000, and kept flipping it, waiting for an opportunity. The winters kept getting longer and more brutal. In 2011 we had an opportunity to buy a hunting lodge on six acres in Ingram, and that's when we moved."

She says her son, Blade, was a freshman in high school, so he came with them and graduated from Ingram Tom Moore in 2014. He lives in Kerrville and works as a firefighter in Cibolo, having recently been promoted to driver. Their older daughter, Ajahnique, stayed in Utah, where she has a very good job with eBay.

Torres says when she moved to Kerrville, her special needs experience led to a job at the Special Opportunity Center for six months. She then worked for Sodexo, while they had a contract with Schreiner University.

But in February of 2013 she says she found her place as the first woman service associate at Crenwelge Motors. She's also a member of the West Kerr and Kerrville chambers of commerce and the Kerrville Networking Group, and she graduated from Leadership Kerr County in 2017.

She says she and Phillip keep a fishing boat at Lake Amistad, and they go sailing with her in-laws. They also got to watching football when Blade played for ITM, and now they tailgate to UTSA games.

Torres says, "Positive is how I live."

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