John Staluppi - Businessman Extraordinaire
In 1964, John Staluppi started his automotive career as a Chevrolet mechanic at age 16. Some 20 years later, he had amassed an automotive empire consisting of 40 dealerships.
Following his stint as a mechanic, Staluppi ran several successful Sunoco stations before taking a risk acquiring a Honda motorcycle store in the early 1970's. Within 10 years he owned 20 Honda dealerships before branching out acquiring other brands.
He has since dialed back the number of dealerships, but says he still "loves the continuous excitement and challenge" the business provides.
Despite divesting several stores the last several years, Staluppi still is a force in automotive retail. Selling nine brands at 17 different dealerships dotted throughout New York's Long Island area, the Atlantic Automotive Group generated $1.6 billion in total revenue in 2010 making it one of the top 15 dealer groups in the country.
Its Atlantic Hyundai store was the top selling Hyundai dealership in the U.S. with 6,214 new Hyundai sales in 2010. It marks the 12 consecutive year Atlantic has boasted the top selling Hyundai dealership – either Planet Hyundai in Las Vegas (which owner John Staluppi recently sold) or Atlantic Hyundai.
Hyundai has awarded Atlantic with its Hyundai Board of Excellence award for 12 consecutive years recognizing it for exemplary customer service in addition to its sales leadership.
Staluppi credits good people and process to his group's success. He recently brought on two of his top people, John Pickett and Michael Brown, as partners in the group. Brown worked for the Penske Automotive Group from 2000-2007 and has a master's degree in business from Boston University. Pickett, meanwhile, spent his entire career with Staluppi working his way up through the Atlantic organization becoming partner this year.
In 1998, Staluppi founded Millennium Yachts, a Florida-based firm that builds luxury yachts.
The World is Not Enough is one of Staluppi's featured yachts and with 20,000 horsepower is one of the fastest yachts in the world with a top speed of 75 mph (61 knots).
In another display of versatility, Staluppi built the Car of Dreams museum located in the Village Shoppes in North Palm Beach, FL. The museum features a stunning collection of vehicles -- most of which are from the 1950s -- staged in a custom built village capturing the spirit of small town America.
12 Questions with John Staluppi
- Becoming Number One:
It's all about people and process.
- Staying on top:
Focusing on the growth areas of our business, customer retention and the Internet.
- Key Vendors or partners:
Reynolds & Reynolds; AAX (DealerTrack's inventory management system)
- Something unique about Atlantic Hyundai:
Our average employee tenure is over 10 years.
- Favorite part about being a dealer:
The continuous challenge and excitement.
- Favorite vehicle:
- One homerun in 2010:
Using the Joe Verde training sessions
- Something you would do differently last year:
Well, we just didn't have enough focus on our used car business.
- What would you improve in the automotive industry?
Due to the industry reputation, it is very tough to recruit and attract educated young people. It is a great business and people would see that if they gave it the chance.
- Next five years:
Look for Hyundai to continue on its path of gaining market share.
A leader finds a way to get the most out of his people. A leader builds a team and surrounds himself with people more talented than himself.
Cars of Dreams Museum and Auction
Article Excerpt By: Mark Elias of RM Auctions on 10/16/2012
John Staluppi started collecting the “cars of his era” more than 10 years ago, concentrating on All-American iron from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Housed in his “Cars of Dreams Museum,” arranged in what was a former Builder's Square home improvement center, the 60,000-square foot building now houses nearly 120 fully restored cars, trucks and motorcycles. The museum is opened only four times a year for viewing by the public or invited guests for charity functions held in the venue. Theme sections display cars such as a 1954 Packard Caribbean convertible and a 1959 Chevrolet Impala on Main Street, as well as a complete series of Chrysler letter cars ranging from a 1955 Chrysler 300 to a 1962 Chrysler 300H, as seen at a drive-in theater. Several areas of significance to Staluppi are depicted in the museum, including a small-scale version of his first Cadillac—Oldsmobile dealership. Staluppi, who started as a mechanic, opened his first dealership in 1974. Moving forward, he collected many of the brands he now sells, including Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Buick. Originally stored in garages at the various dealerships, he decided the collection would be better served under one roof. “John Staluppi is larger than life and well known in the collector-car hobby. His collection reflects a very precise collecting philosophy, focused on securing only the very best,” says Donnie Gould of RM Auctions.
Other items and points of interest within the display include a fire station that is home to the Staluppi Fire Department's 1985 American La France pumper truck. A vintage Mobil service station is nearby with a pair of coveralled grease monkeys to take care of vehicles. Several pieces of Americana, including a carousel and Lionel Train display, will also move across the block during the auction.
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