SANFORD L. “SANDY” WOODS: More successful today than when Black Enterprise magazine recognized his as one of the top privately owned businesses in the Sunshine State, the master CEO enthralled and counseled his audience as keynote speaker for the Palm Beach County Black Elected Officials during their scholarship luncheon Saturday. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ERNA DELICE, ELIJAH GORING AND LOVELY MARCELUS

West Palm Beach, Fla. – He tells everyone just call him “Sandy.” He has said he’s “just a humble country car dealer.”

He’s also a phenomenally successful, pioneering businessman, husband, father and community builder, known for giving freely and selflessly of himself, as he did for an attentive sold-out audience as keynote speaker for the Palm Beach County Black Elected Officials 2024 Scholarship Luncheon, Saturday at the West Palm Beach Marriott.

Pearls of wisdom flowed effortlessly from the president of Treasure Coast Lexus of Fort Pierce, Fla., and Treasure Coast Toyota of Stuart, Fla., to frequent applause from the myriad public officials, candidates and guests present, during Woods’ live interview onstage with South Florida Times Editor C.B. Hanif.

“Failure is a great teacher,” said the man who “almost went broke three times” – including a $540,000 loss one year – yet for decades has been a phenomenal success in myriad areas of business, and now says, “At this stage in life I do exactly what I want to do.”

Though only 45-minutes, the wideranging conversation was a master class that State Sen. Bobby Powell, BEO president, likened to “dinner with JayZ.”

Woods cited “the difference between how much money you make and how much cash you have,” saying, “Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business.”

He exhibited the innovative thinking that saw the potential of shifting gears from unprecedented accomplishment with the Chrysler Corporation in Detroit, Mich., to even more corporate growth in Tampa, Fla., to legacy-level community and personal impact now on the Treasure Coast.

Placing his daughter Amber in charge of the Toyota and then the Lexus dealerships, which both took off, he said, enabled him to focus his attention on all the other things he’s doing, perhaps most notably, buying property.

He cited the distinction between putting money in a bank, as opposed to buying a piece of property, in the right location, at the right price, where in five years it will double in value, he said, as opposed to earning 1 percent interest from a bank,” he said.

“Real estate, in my humble opinion, is the best investment out there.”

Whether Jeff Bezos or Elon musk or whomever, Woods said, “The base of their pyramid is real estate. You think McDonalds is in the hamburger business, right? They’re in the real estate business,” he said, as owners of the franchisees’ buildings, for which they charge rent based on how well they do.

Rather than spout classic business language, such as “buy low, sell high,” Woods has done it, with one result being that, “We own a lot of land, in the right places.”

Today Woods’ focus is education, and legacy, as exemplified by the ongoing success of the handoff to his daughter Amber of most business’ operations.

At this stage in his life, Woods said, “It’s not about the money anymore. It’s about winning, I want to be the best at whatever I do.”

WPBF-TV 25 anchor/reporter Jade Jarvis served as emcee for the event whose theme was “The Past Igniting the Present and The Future,” and whose purpose was also to raise money for students who would like to attend college and are in need of a scholarship.

MYRIAD ELECTED OFFICIALS, CANDIDATES AND GUESTS: Among those present were, clockwise from top left, Palm Beach County State Attorney candidate Alexcia Cox; Town of Haverhill Councilwoman Teresa Johnson, and U.S. Senate candidate Stanley Campbell, his campaign hat shown. The roomful of guests and members also included the organization’s founder, Addie L. Greene; former state Rep. Larry Lee; state Senate candidate Mack Bernard; Haverhill Vice Mayor Lawrence Gordon; West Palm Beach Commissioner Shalonda Warren; Palm Beach County School Board members Marcia Andrews and Edwin Ferguson; and Port of Palm Beach Commissioners Jean Enright, Wayne Richards and Deandre Poole. More photos on Page 4B.