Madera Auto Center (L to R): Reno Zarpoli, John Harford, Tali Gallegos, Raul Torres, Marty Mayfohrt. Farm Bureau Members since 1999.
What year did your Business get started?
1921—one of the oldest Chevrolet franchises in the nation. Chevrolet just celebrated its 100th anniversary. The Toyota franchise was acquired in 1982, and is the only import dealership in Madera County. The current owners acquired the business in November, 2000.
What kinds of merchandise do you sell? What brands?
New and used vehicles. We are the franchised dealer for new Chevrolet and Toyota’s in Madera, as well as the mountain areas of Oakhurst and Coarsegold. We are a Toyota and General Motors authorized service facility, and are also authorized to sell genuine Toyota and GM parts and accessories. We also operate a Toyota Rent-A-Car facility, offering competitive daily, weekly and monthly rates on current model Toyota cars and trucks.
Who is the target audience for your Company?
We are fortunate—we sell products and services that are in demand by everyone—individuals, businesses, government agencies, etc. Everyone needs a car for transportation, and fair and competitively priced service for their vehicle.
Are you part of a family owned business? Which family members help run the business?
We are a local, family owned business. Husband and wife, and our daughters have worked in the business while they attended school. One daughter is a teacher, and the other is pursuing her CPA certificate with a national firm in their Sacramento office.
What kind discounts do you offer your customers? Any special monthly or yearly sales events?
All Farm Bureau members are offered “fleet/business” pricing, with all incentives offered by the manufacturer, including business choice accessories, including truck tool boxes, racks, assist steps and bed liners. In addition, General Motors is currently offering a “Farm Bureau” cash incentive of $500, on the purchase of selected vehicles by members. Please see our ad in this publication.
What changes would you like to see happen in Madera that would help benefit your business and/or the community?
Get a decision on the High Speed rail, and then “move on.” Conceptually, this is a great idea (70 years ago), but when considering the national and State of California debt, we can’t afford a “train to no-where.” Amtrak hasn’t worked, and California will always be a state that relies upon cars and trucks—it’s in our DNA. We are wasting time and Federal dollars that can be better put somewhere else.
What kind of community projects does your company participate in?
The economy has impacted our ability to participate as we did prior to 2008. We have been heavily involved in the high school Sober Grad program, Fresno State Athletics, local high school programs and community events such as golf tournaments to raise funds for local charities. We have become active in local Chamber of Commerce functions over the past year and plan to continue to support this organization. And we would like to work with other organizations such as yours where there is a mutual benefit to our participation to promote your causes and our products and services.
Where would you like to position your company in the next 5 to 10 years?
We will need to remodel our current facility or relocate, and we would like to add additional car and support franchises, as the market improves.
What changes have you made in your business to stay up to date with current trends?
Both GM and Toyota have led the charge for green initiatives, with the Toyota Prius series and Chevrolet Volt. Cars and Trucks are so much more fuel efficient and environmentally cleaner than they were 10 years ago, and it will continue to improve as consumers demand more efficient products.
Are you concerned with the water issues that we face in the Central Valley? What are your specific concerns?
Always. We are agricultural based, so we need to provide our farmers with adequate resources to grow their crops. I’m not a fan of the environmental actions that are unreasonable and impact farmers.
What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not working?
What are those? I’m a worker.
Which California Farm Bureau benefit do you find most beneficial to your company?
Your political representation.
Has there been a specific issue that Madera County Farm Bureau has helped you with?
High speed rail—as stated above, we can’t afford it. Spend the money on a program which we know will benefit the community.
What value do you receive from your Farm Bureau membership?
It allows us to market directly to your members. We welcome the opportunity to serve our local agricultural community, and keep them informed on services and products that they would find helpful.