|JOEY A. GABARDA, JR.’s FAMILY: Filipino American Joesan “Joey” A. Gabarda, Jr. cuddles her three-and-a-half year-old daughter, Ava, while his wife, Erin, cradles their one-year-old son, Jag, in this family photo. (JGL Photo used with permission from Joey A. Gabarda, Jr.)Add caption
CHICAGO (JGL) – Filipino American Joesan “Joey” A. Gabarda, Jr. took off from the profession of his father who was a business and administrative consultant of Chrysler Corporation for 31 years. But Joey raised the bar to another level by being an employer — a car dealer.
The 41-year-old Joey Gabarda, born and bred in Grosse Pointe suburb of the Motor City of Detroit, Michigan, found his American Dream in Midland, Texas, where he is the managing partner of Classic Honda Midland dealership with 29 employees, who are two-third whites and a third Hispanics.
The son of Joesan L. Gabarda, Sr., a native of Pasay City but raised in Sorsogon City in the Philippines and Corazon “Boots” Laroco, a Registered Nurse and native of Baguio City also in the Philippines, Joey plans to expand diversity in his workplace by hiring both Asians and Filipinos “if the opportunity arises, they have an opportunity with me.
“In the 20 years of being in this business, I have only personally known three Filipinos, one of them is my best friend I grew up with in Detroit,” Joey added.
Although he has a partner, Tom Durant, in the Classic Honda of Midland dealership located on West Wall Street in Midland, from whom he took out a “loan from and he helps me with some working capital,” Joey said, “I am the operator of the store as my partner will probably never see the store. In essence, I make all of the decisions and it is my store.” Mr. Durant also owns 17 dealerships.
Only a few weeks after he bought the dealership, Joey started with 12 employees but he described the “reputation of the (original) dealership completely ruined. Why? The store was previously owned by a public company, which held a different philosophy in running a business.”
When asked how he plans to overcome those challenges, Joey said he will be “hiring the right people with the mindset to take my business to the next level. Also, to implement the correct processes to make sure the customers are taken care of to rebuild my clientele base as well as customer retention.”
Asked how he became a car dealer, the young Gabarda said being raised in the Motor City, which has been his automotive industry home his entire life, “I knew I was always going to do something in the automotive field. Initially it was engineering but I was recruited to play Collegiate Lacrosse (which was my passion at the time) at Northwood University (in Midland, Michigan) so I switched my direction to business.”
Joey graduated from Northwood University with a Bachelors of Business Administration, specializing in Automotive Marketing and Business Management in 1997.
After graduating from Northwood University, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked his way into upper management at Sutherlin Nissan of Marietta Ed Voyles; Honda in Marietta, GA as a New Car Director; Toyota/Scion of Goldsboro as the General Manager; Boardwalk Porsche as the General Manager; Boardwalk Auto Group as the Variable Operations Director; and Classic Chevrolet as the New Car Manager.
ATTENDED NADA U TO PURCHASE FIRST DEALERSHIP
In 2014, Joey attended NADA University to fulfill the necessary requirements to purchase his first dealership.
Through his career, he has had the ability to work for Ed Voyles Automotive Group, the Van Tuyl Automotive Group, AutoNation and the Boardwalk Auto Group. He has held every position on the variable side and is proficient on fixed as well.
Joey’s considered greatest achievement in his career was to acquire the prestigious President’s Award from Southeast Toyota in 11 months at Toyota/Scion of Goldsboro. His other accolades are 2001 Nissan’s Circle of Excellence Award Team Nissan of Marietta; 2002 Nissan’s Circle of Excellence Award Team Nissan of Marietta; 2003 Honda’s Presidents Award Ed Voyles Honda; 2005 Toyota’s President’s Award Toyota/Scion of Goldsboro; 2006 Toyota’s President’s Award Toyota/Scion of Goldsboro: 2011 Audi Magna Society Boardwalk Auto Group; 2011 Porsche Premier Dealer Boardwalk Auto Group; 2012 Audi Magna Society Boardwalk Auto Group; 2013 #1 Selling Chevrolet Retailer in the Country; and 2013#1 Parts Wholesale in the Country.
In five to 10 years, he is looking at owning and managing five dealerships under his own automotive dealer group.
Aside from Joey, there is another Filipino American, Rene Isip, who also owns multiple dealerships in Texas. Mr. Isip was a previous owner of Toyota of Lewisville, which sold for $30-million a few years back.
In the Midwest, there is also a Filipino American, Emir C. Abinion, who also owns dealership of Volkswagen, Buick and GMC at West Chicago and Schaumburg, Illinois. Mr. Abinion is also a son of a native of Albay province, the neighboring town of Joey’s father’s province of Sorsogon.
Although, Joey had been in the Philippines in 1977 when he was only three years old, he may not have recollections of Manila but he loved “Bikol (the home region of his father) and Baguio (the birth city of his mother).”
His favorite Filipino delicacies? Machado, Kare Kare, Pancit, Egg rolls and Halu Halo.
Joey resides in Midland, Texas with his wife of nine years, Erin, their daughter, Ava, three-and-a-half years old, their son Jag, one year old, and his two dogs, Pogi, a “Yorkie” and “Bella,” a Maltese. When Joey is not at work, he likes to spend time at the lake with his family boating. (Joseph G. Lariosa)