Education is important to the Sparks Toyota family, not only within their company, but within the Horry County community.
The local car dealership has partnered with myhorrynews.com for a second year to recognize Horry County Schools educators through the “Teacher of the Month” contest, launching Sept. 1.
Every month, readers can nominate their favorite teachers online on our website. The teacher with the most votes each month will receive a $50 prize provided by Sparks Toyota and a plaque to honor this distinction as well as a feature story in the Horry County Business Journal.
“With COVID-19, teachers are having to teach from home, teach online or on Zoom and some are going back into the classrooms. That is hard. We need to recognize them. They are shaping our youth,” said Sparks Toyota manager Blair Mueller. “Giving back to the community and Horry County schools is very important to us.”
During the 2019-2020 school year, the contest gained a great deal of popularity on Facebook and got the community engaged with encouraging these educators.
“It was fun to see what these teachers shared about their classrooms and backgrounds,” Mueller said. “You get to know them on a personal level.”
Sparks Toyota was founded in 1982 by Rick Sparks. His son Patrick currently serves as the company’s general manager.
Since its opening, Sparks Toyota has been dedicated to giving back in the community, donating $500,000 to local charities and organizations in the last 10 years. On the company’s website, you can view many of the organizations that Sparks Toyota has helped with charitable contributions over its 35 years in business.
Last year, Sparks Toyota launched a buying program for all employees of Horry County schools, offering them straight discounted pricing. This program applies to all levels of employees, from bus drivers to administrators, “from the person who sweeps the floor to the principal.”
“It’s just a small thing we can do to appreciate them,” the company said of the program. “[Patrick] considers education to be so vital. The Sparks family cares about the people of Myrtle Beach and the future.”
Patrick Sparks attended and graduated from Horry County Schools, so supporting local teachers made sense for the company. Sparks hopes that this program will encourage other local businesses to provide special pricing and programs for educators.
The dealership also offers car buying seminars and is happy to answer questions or come to a school to speak with teachers free of charge.
“We do the same things teachers do – we try to educate the public,” the company said. “We want everyone who walks in the front door to be treated with courtesy and respect. This is a great time for people to buy cars.”
Sparks is also the sponsor of the Fuel the Future scholarship program, providing scholarships for Coastal Carolina University students through an annual charity golf tournament.
“The Sparks family is so generous,” Mueller said. “The company donates thousands of dollars each year, and it’s important to keep it local.”
Sparks Toyota is at 4855 U.S. 501 in Myrtle Beach. Learn more about Sparks Toyota by visiting sparkstoyota.com or calling 866-884-8621.