Island Auto Group buys 8 Manfredi dealerships
By Tracey Porpora, STATEN ISLAND LIVE JULY 22, 2015
In a multi-million dollar deal, Island Auto Group has purchased eight Staten Island-based automobile dealerships in Grasmere and Dongan Hills that were formerly owned by the Manfredi family.
Now under the Island Auto Group umbrella are Chrysler, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Fiat and Mitsubishi.
"The Manfredi family gave us this opportunity to purchase their stores. We have a lot of respect for them. ..But it's a new day here. We want to give customers a different experience," said Josh Aaronson, a principal of Island Auto Group, which also owns three New Jersey dealerships and one each in Rockland County and Yonkers, N.Y.
"We are excited to be able to make some changes and go in a new direction," added Aaronson, who has been in the automobile business for the last 15 years.
DREAM COME TRUE
The principals of Island Auto Group, which also include Marcello Sciarrino, Michael Rizzuto, Ron Baron and David Baron, said their ability to build an Island auto empire is a "dream come true."
"This is a lifelong dream. This is my community, and I'm invested in it," said Sciarrino, a Randall Manor resident, who has worked in the auto industry for the last 20 years.
"Staten Island offers a unique opportunity for us. Being a Staten Islander myself, I know people here want to be loyal and shop in the community," he said.
The principals of Island Auto Group didn't layoff any of the former Manfredi employees. In fact, only five employees previously employed by Manfredi chose to leave the company, said Sciarrino.
"Our whole business model is to go into a store and bring new processes and change. Generally, more than 90 percent of all employees stay with us, which is what we're most proud of," said Sciarrino.
"We try to change the way (employees) do business to make it more positive," he added.
With about 300 current employees, Sciarrino said Island Auto Group is hiring in all departments.
"For us to do the numbers that we expect to do, we need to have more technicians, more sales staff, more mechanics. Our whole goal is to hire as many people from Staten Island as possible," he said.
Island Auto Group will also embark on renovation projects at each of the dealerships to make them more customer friendly. In addition, the Toyota, Mazda and Subaru service center on Quintard Street in South Beach will get a $1 million overhaul, said Aaronson.
"We are getting new equipment, machines, furniture and we will be upgrading the technology not just for our customers, but for our employees," he said, noting all salespeople will be equipped with iPads.
As part of Island Auto Group's aggressive community outreach program, the company will soon launch Islandautocares.com.
"We plan to give away a car every month to someone in the community who deserves it -- not because they bought a car from us or they visited our showroom, but because something happened in their lives that a car would greatly enhance and improve their lives. There is no purchase attached to the car give away," said Aaronson.
"Islandautocares.com will allow people to tell us their stories and tell us why they deserve a car. We will have a board of community members appointed who will make the decision each month. One month we will give away a Kia, another month a Toyota, etc...," he added.
The monthly give away will be open to both individuals and organizations, said Sciarrino.
Island Auto Group will also give free car washes at its Quintard Street service center to anyone whose car dons the company's license plate frame.
"We plan to launch an app that will be somewhat like a Disney Fast Pass, so you'll know how long the waits are for the car wash," said Sciarrino.
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