Car dealer surprised by award

February 17, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Joseph B. Aiello, president of J.B.A. Chevrolet on Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie, says he never expected to be named the 1994 Time Magazine Quality Dealer.

Sure, he has been among Chevrolet's top 10 dealers in the country in recent years. But the 55-year-old Severna Park resident said he was "really surprised" when he received the award at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco last month.

"I feel really honored that I was chosen to be the recipient of the award," he said yesterday.

Mr. Aiello was one of 65 dealers nominated for the award, sponsored jointly by Time and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

The award is presented to car dealers for exceptional performance in their businesses and for community service. Mr. Aiello says his business has performed well, but denied a claim in Time's press release that he was consistently listed as one of the top 10 retail Chevrolet dealers in the country.

"I have at times been in the top 10," he said.

The dealership, however, consistently is ranked among the top 50 of more than 5,000 Chevy dealers in the United States.

"I'm selling a good product," he said. "The dealership has been there a long time."

His greatest assets, Mr. Aiello said, are his employees, some of whom have been at the business almost since it opened as Gladding Chevrolet in 1955.

"My people do a great job," he said. "Two people are still on the payroll who were there within a year after [it] opened."

Mr. Aiello started working at the business as a sales manager in 1970. He bought part of the dealership in 1976 and, in January 1984, took over sole ownership.

Born in the Highlandtown section of Baltimore, Mr. Aiello graduated from Mount St. Joseph High School in 1956. After a stint in the Army, his first civilian job was as a clerk at the old Bethlehem Steel shipyard on Key Highway.

He left Bethlehem Steel in 1961 to sell classified ads for The Sun. In 1964, he joined the staff of WBAL-TV as an account executive. He is a former president of the North Arundel chapter of the American Cancer Society and once was a member of the Maryland State Attorney General Businessman's Council.

Mr. Aiello and his wife, Doris, have lived in Severna Park since 1987. The Aiellos have been married 35 years and have three sons.

Mark, 33, is vice president and general manager of J.B.A. David, 30, is a cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Matthew, 20, is a junior in the school of business at the University of Richmond.

Mr. and Mrs. Aiello also have five grandchildren, "of whom we're very proud," Mr. Aiello said.

He summed up his business philosophy in three sentences:

"A dealership has to be profitable. It has to take care of its customers. And it has to be a good place for people to work."

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