Ocala Toyota dealer Frank DeLuca, shown in this Sept. 19, 2012 photo, was nominated recently for the TIME Dealer of the Year award. Photo reproduced with permission from the Ocala Star-Banner


October 23, 2012 – Of the more than 17,000 automobile dealers in the country, only 57 were nominated for the award, which will be presented Feb. 9 during the 96th annual National Automobile Dealers Association Convention in Orlando.

“I’m pretty honored by it. I was surprised when I got the call,” DeLuca said. “With just 57 dealers nominated, it’s a real honor to be in that elite group.”

The award, now in its 44th year, recognizes dealers that not only have built a successful business, but also those who have given back to the community.

For DeLuca, community service is a duty.

“That’s one thing I got from the founder of Southeast Toyota (distributor) Jim Moran. He said, ‘Frank when you can, give back to the community as much as you can and whenever you can, because if it wasn’t for the community you wouldn’t be here,’” he said.

Success wasn’t assured. When DeLuca, 67, got the Toyota franchise more than 34 years ago, the brand was a new player in the automotive industry.

“People didn’t even know how to pronounce the name,” he said. “I wasn’t any type of rocket scientist or have the foresight of what was going to happen in the future, but I hung on to the franchise and through a lot of blood, sweat and tears and hard work, we made it happen.”

The full article can be seen at the Ocala Star Banner by clicking here.