Groppetti Automotive, a family-owned Visalia car business, is stepping outside the central San Joaquin Valley to open a Nissan dealership closer to the coast in Santa Cruz.
The expansion was part strategy, part opportunity, owner Don Groppetti said. Branching out from the central San Joaquin Valley was a welcome challenge for the 23-year-old company.
“The car business is doing pretty well right now,” Groppetti said. “We learned a lot in that recessionary period we had in ‘08, ‘09, and our business has been strong the last couple of years.”
In general, the business has been improving across California, and there is a clear trend of dealerships opening and expanding, according to Madelyn Vacheron, California New Car Dealers Association director of communications.
“Along with increased car registrations, expansion-consolidation of successful dealer groups is another strong sign of a healthy industry,” she said.
Our primary business is a car business, and I think that’s something that makes us unique.
Don Groppetti, owner of Groppetti Automotive
Groppetti Automotive Family has been selling cars in the San Joaquin Valley since 1993 and runs seven dealerships in Tulare and Kings counties, plus one motorcycle store. Now, the company is expanding by reopening a previously closed Santa Cruz Nissan dealership on July 1.
“I’m driven by profit, but I’m also driven by challenges,” Groppetti said. “I like having challenges put in front of me and making them into something successful.”
The company will temporarily use the existing facilities in Santa Cruz, but has plans to break ground on a new building in early fall, said spokesperson Anna Gonzales. The Santa Cruz dealership will have about 40 employees, which adds to the company’s 305-person workforce, she said.
The business is one of the largest home-grown car dealers in the central San Joaquin Valley, and hopes to continue expanding along the Central Coast and throughout Central California, Groppetti said. He doesn’t have plans to move into large metropolitan areas like San Francisco or Los Angeles, though.
Gropetti said he sells between 700 and 800 new cars monthly, and hopes the new Nissan dealership in Santa Cruz will be a challenge that pays off.
Since the Great Recession, Groppetti Automotive’s car sales have grown close to what they were before the crash, Groppeti said – meaning sales have gone up about 60 percent from their lowest point.
Groppetti Automotive’s Santa Cruz Nissan dealership is located at 1605 Soquel Ave. in Santa Cruz.