For Larry Giacchino, president of 2011 Torch Award-winning Carman Auto Group, rule No. 1 of dealing with customers is to operate with integrity. “It’s a conscious choice we make and the best way to describe our business philosophy,” he says.
The Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics is given annually by the BBB of Delaware to recognize companies that set a higher standard for others in the way they treat their customers and employees, explains BBB of Delaware president Christine Sauers.
“Carman Auto Group has worked hard over the years to develop and maintain a reputation as a company with integrity that is more concerned with doing the ‘right’ thing than with making a quick dollar. Their mission is to provide the best service in terms of quality care to their valued customers at all times, ensuring complete satisfaction and customer loyalty,” Sauers says.
In addition to Carman Auto Group, BBB of Delaware Torch Awards were given in 2011 to Lessard Builders and Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing.
Larry’s father, Carmen, founded Carman in 1973 as Carman Lincoln Mercury. The company has grown to encompass three locations and four franchises: Carman Fiat, Carman Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Carman Lincoln and Carman Ford. Together the four franchises sell more than 250 new and used vehicles a month. The Carman Auto Group also includes a body shop, two service departments and two parts departments. Many of Carman’s 135 employees have been with the company long-term. “That’s one of the reasons our sales staff is so knowledgeable,” Giacchino says.
Nearly 40 years after its founding, Carman is still family-owned and operated by Carmen, director of Carman Auto Group, and his sons, Larry and Joe. Joe is the company’s vice president. “No matter when you come, you’ll always find at least one of us here, sometimes all three,” Larry Giacchino says. “I think that makes a difference. Larry’s son, Dan, joined the company five years ago, bringing to three the number of generations involved in the company.
Over the years, Carman has received many manufacturers’ awards for customer service and satisfaction. The company ranks in the top 10 percentile for customer sales and service satisfaction in each of its manufacturer’s groups. In 2010, Larry was honored as one of just 45 automobile dealers from 17,000 nationwide to be nominated for the TIME Magazine Dealer of the Year award. Nominees for the award are among the nation’s most successful auto dealers, but they must also be committed to community service. In addition to loaning a car each year for use by the Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula, Carman Auto provides cars for Delaware’s high school driver’s education programs. The company supports five Little League teams each summer, as well.
Despite the myriad awards the company has received, Giacchino says the Torch Award holds special meaning precisely because it acknowledges business integrity and comes from the Better Business Bureau, an organization that consumers recognize as being committed to marketplace ethics.
“We value our association with the BBB because we want people to know that we have high standards for our business and for customer satisfaction. BBB Accreditation is one way of getting the word out,” Giacchino says.