By Valarie Sukovaty
“My Dad, Frank, used to always say, ‘There’s three things you do: you take care of your community, you take care of your customers, and you take care of your employees,'” says Ron Fornaca, President-Dealer Principal of Frank Subaru. “’And if you can do those three things, you’ll be very successful.'”
The Fornaca family knows the secret to success. They’ve been running thriving businesses in the San Diego area for more than a hundred years, starting with Mario Fornaca, Ron’s grandfather, who opened a bakery in 1912. That inspired Ron’s father, Frank, to open Frank Lincoln Mercury in National City in 1965. The dealership quickly expanded to Frank Toyota, Hyundai and Subaru.
Today, it’s still a family-run business with Ron at the helm continuing Frank’s legacy along with several other family members. His remarkable success recently caught the attention of Time Magazine, who chose Ron from a pool of 16,000 car dealers to be one of 51 nominees for Time’s Dealer of the Year. He and the rest of the Fornaca family went to San Francisco in January for the awards ceremony.
“I’m just blown away by that and humbled because that is something that I did not even expect,” says Ron. “To be there and be part of a lot of great dealers from around the country was an incredible thing.”
A critical part of the nomination criteria is community involvement, which has been at the heart of Frank Motors since day one. The company supports charities throughout San Diego including: Big Brothers-Big Sisters of San Diego County, Veterans Village of San Diego, Jackie Robinson YMCA, Chula Vista Animal Care Facility, Meals on Wheels San Diego County, Leukemia and Lymphoma San Diego and Hawaii Chapter, Olivewood Elementary School, and the Heart Institute at Rady Children’s Hospital.
“The family here at Frank Subaru has made a huge impact on our local community and Rady Children’s Hospital,” says Alex Loker, Senior Director of Philanthropy, Rady Children’s Hospital. “Through the Share The Love program they raised nearly $175,000 to help children in our hospital. We’re so fortunate to partner with them on the critical care that we provide for our kids.”
Frank Motors customer, Charles Carey, says the dealership’s community outreach reveals the company’s values. “It shows that the company realizes there are obligations outside of selling cars and making money.”
Maria Montez started working at Frank Motors in 1978. She says she’s proud to work for a business that helps so many. “It’s important that they actually give back to the community,” she says. “It does give a sense of pride.”
For the fourth consecutive year, Frank Subaru is also the recipient of “The Subaru Love Promise Customer Commitment Award” and “The Subaru Love Promise Community Commitment Award”.