On the Road with Executive Director Jeff Martin - A 15-Hour Adventure
Last week, the Texas House Transportation Committee met in Brownsville. I took this opportunity to make stops along the way and visit with independent dealers I don't usually get a chance to talk to. The normal six-hour trip turned into a 15-hour adventure, and it was worth every minute.
My first stop was Fuentes Autos, in Edna, TX where I spent some time talking to owner Xavier Fuentes. He has been in business for less than a year and, like most dealers, his biggest struggle is finding affordable inventory. Xavier grew up in the mechanic and auto body repair business with his dad, so he is doing what he does best: finding vehicles that need a little TLC and working hard to get them back on the street.
My next stop was at Superior Auto Sales in Beeville. This family-owned and operated dealership has been a fixture in Beeville for years. Larry Dziuk and his son-in-law Shawn Ramon showed me around the dealership and talked shop for a bit. Their biggest concern at the time was how long it was taking TxDMV to renew their license, how difficult it is get finding vehicles these days, and some of the complexities that come with out-of-state titles. If you are ever in the area, make it a point to stop by and see these guys; they have a fantastic operation.
My last stop was a special treat. I invited State Rep. Abel Herrero to join me in Kingsville to meet with Ana and Faustino Garcia who own and operate A & F Auto Sales. We spent a lot of time talking about how they got in the business and, now that they have two sons helping, how things have changed. They recently attended the TIADA Conference and have already started implementing many of the new ideas. Ana and Faustino are passionate about helping the underserved in their community and have even started a non-profit to assist the people who live in Colonias. During the meeting, Rep. Herrera, who was already familiar with their work, pledged to continue helping the non-profit.
Special thanks to all the dealers who allowed me to stop by and visit with them last week. Spending time at these dealerships helps us better represent your voice in Austin.