Frank D’Acquisto began his career in 1980 at Frank Gentile Oldsmobile Honda in Racine. At 24 years old he got his first job as a Sales Manager at Ray Wilkinson Buick Cadillac, overseeing all sales staff. It was at this dealership where Frank met Len Parise and the two became close friends.
Frank also began to build a relationship with Mark Porcaro who then owned Small Car Company, a used car dealership on the south side of Racine. Mark often came in to buy wholesale cars from Frank and they became close friends. In many ways, Mark was Frank’s inspiration for owning his own used car dealership. After some time, Frank decided he would like to follow in Mark’s footsteps and pursue self-employment. He rented space behind Small Car Company and began a wholesale distribution business. This was the beginning of ADS Auto Sales (Automotive Distribution Systems), Frank’s first business.
One day, while sitting at Swingers on Lathrop Avenue with his friend Nick Maragos, Nick suggested a great location for a used car dealership just across the street. Frank contact Jim Erickson, owner of Erickson Auto Trim, and found out that Jim had just agreed to rent the building to someone else.
“If it falls through or if you need a renter down the road, let me know,” Frank said.
A couple weeks later, Frank got a phone call. The lot was his.
The company opened as ADS Auto Sales. In 1989 Frank incorporated the business and changed the name to D’Acquisto Motors (see video). Over the years Frank employed many great people in both sales and service. To name a few: Bob McFarland, Rick Lunde, and Len Parise (Frank’s long-time friend from back at Ray Wilkinson Buick Cadillac).
There are many people who have helped and inspired Frank throughout his career, Len Parise is one of those people.
Andy Palmen is another one of those people. While in business at D’Acquisto Motors, Frank got to know Andy Palmen, the owner of Palmen Motors in Kenosha, WI. In 1997, Andy approached Frank about becoming the General Manger of his new car dealership in Kenosha. This was a difficult decision, and a major turning point in Frank’s career, but he decided to take the opportunity.
Frank sold the original D’Acquisto Motors to Rick Klinkhammer (who formed Klinkhammer Motors) and went to work for Andy at Palmen Motors. He had a great experience learning the dynamics of a large new car operation, and enjoyed some great years working with Andy Palmen.
At the age of 46, Frank decided to start his own business again from the ground up.
He learned that Bob Schneider of Lathrop Auto Sales was looking to sell his property at 1202 Lathrop Avenue, on the corner of Lathrop Avenue and Washington. Frank purchased the property from Bob Schneider, excited to be on such a prominent corner in Racine.
After a couple years of growing his business Frank and Len Parise teamed up again (for the third time)!
Since reopening his business Frank has hired a number of great people to service his long list of loyal customers, including Brent Ekman, Jeff Fidler, Richie Nygro, Marcos Villalobos, Nikk Brimmer, Mike Taggart, and me (the author of this brief history of D’Acquisto Motors) his son, Danny D’Acquisto.
Love you, Dad!