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Category: Business Review

Keypoint Mortgage eases process of getting a mortgage, refinancing


By Ryan Sloan

Observer Correspondent 


Though the rules have significantly changed since the sub-prime loan crisis of 2009, one thing has remained consistent: Keypoint Mortgage is still there for mortgage-seekers, or for those seeking to refinance, without the hassle of having to deal with largescale banks.

And perhaps best of all, Keypoint deals with more than 20 different lenders throughout the country, so the chances of successfully securing a loan are much greater with Keypoint than they are with a single bank, thanks to the variety of choices out there.

Mortgage broker Rob Pezzolla has owned and operated Keypoint Mortgage since 2003. When he first opened the business in North Arlington — there’s now also a branch office in Summit — he did so to make the home-loan process easier for clients.

“When you deal with a bank, you’re dealt with what they have to offer,” Pezzolla said. “When you’re with us, we make the process painless and have considerably more options when it comes to potential lenders.”

Indeed, Keypoint does.

But because of the changes to borrowing guidelines that were instituted after the subprime crisis five years ago, while it’s still easier and more convenient to get a mortgage through his Mortgage Broker, it might not be as easy as it was before the crisis hit.

“That’s because there was a time where people were getting mortgages without any documentation,” Pezzolla said. “Places were approving mortgages without a paystub, or without any paperwork, from borrowers. It doesn’t work that way anymore, but as a broker, we offer the flexibility that a large bank can’t offer.

“We deal with 20 or so banks, they underwrite the file and we present the best deal offered.”

Perhaps the best part of dealing with a broker like Pezzolla — there’s no upfront cost to the consumer. Now, just because the rules have changed, that doesn’t mean people aren’t getting decent mortgages anymore. That’s where Keypoint comes in.

Before contacting any lenders, Pezzolla and Keypoint work with individual clients to set reasonable expectations. He’ll conduct what’s called pre-purchase counseling with anyone seeking a mortgage — where he offers sound advice based on the consumer’s income, assets and equity.

If a customer has no shot at a mortgage, he’ll let the person know.

If he can pull off a spectacularly low interest rate, he’ll let the customer know.

You still may be able to refinance a high rate mortgage.

Saving a bad mortgage

One of the most critical things Pezzolla wants people to know about what he does as a broker actually concerns the refinancing of what might be considered predatory loans.

He says to this very day — and this could very well include you — there are 800,000 Americans who have loans with interest rates at 6% or more that can still be refinanced based on the 2009 market meltdown.

There are two main requirements: The loan had to be issued on or before May 31, 2009 — and the loan has to have come from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

“Not only can mortgage holders refinance under those circumstances, we can often get them from interest rates at 6% or more down to as low as 4.25%,” Pezzolla said. “There’s a myth out there that if you’ve got one of these loans, you’re stuck with it and can’t refinance. That’s not the case at all, and I hope people do realize if they’re in this category, not only can we help, we can make it happen.

“And it doesn’t matter if the consumer is under water. It doesn’t matter if the home’s value has dropped. Regardless of equity, the opportunity is there — and we hope more people will take advantage of the opportunities we can offer them.”

The bottom line, however, in dealing with Keypoint is simple. If you want a mortgage or to refinance — and you qualify — the convenience of Keypoint will truly make what could otherwise be an awful process a much easier and comfortable one.

“We’re the neighborhood guys,” Pezzolla said. “We’re not the ‘no-face banks’ people often deal with. We’re not the correspondent lender in Illinois where you’ll never meet the people in person you’re dealing with. We’re local, we give our clients the time and attention they deserve. And we’ll always be honest and up-front right from the beginning.

“You just don’t get that with large-scale banks, and never will.”

Think you might want to refinance a higher rate mortgage? Looking for a new mortgage? Contact Pezzolla by calling him on his mobile phone at 201-805-4999, by sending him an email to rob@keypointmortgage.com or by visiting www.keypointmortgage.com online.

Schuyler Savings Bank: big-time banking in an intimate setting


By Ryan Sloan

Observer Correspondent 


If you’re looking for big time banking, but in a smaller setting — where everyone gets to know your name and your needs (go ahead, break into song with the theme to “Cheers”) — you needn’t look further than right here in West Hudson at Schuyler Savings Bank.

That’s because for decades, they’ve been offering customers all the amenities large-scale banks offer and then some without the hassle of having to deal with a huge corporation and the red tape that often comes with it.

The main Kearny office at 24 Davis Ave. first opened in 1924 — and just a few years ago, Schuyler Savings opened a branch office at 203-205 Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard in Harrison. In all those years, the bank’s President and CEO George Halski says one thing has never changed: a commitment to offering personal service to every single customer.

“What sets us apart, as well, is that we have had generations of customers,” Halski said. “We have customers whose grandparent and parents were also customers — and now their own children are our customers. We’re able to bring that personal touch and service in ways bigger banks just cannot.”

So how does Schuyler Savings achieve that?

It’s pretty simple, Halski says.

“What you’ll find here, year after year, is that it’s the same people behind the window or at the counter who offer that personal touch,” Halski said. “We rarely have turnover here. So our customers take pride in coming in and seeing the same people week after week after week.

“Our employees take pride in developing relationships with the customers, and we know the customers appreciate that as well.”

Halski says it’s never more evident than when customers pop into the bank having no business to conduct.

“Occasionally, people will come in to share stories … how their vacation was … or they’ll want to know how one of our vacations went,” he said. “That rarely happens in larger-scale facilities.”

Halski also says referral business has kept Schuyler Savings competitive in a fierce banking market.

“We pride ourselves on that. Our customers love to refer new business to us,” Halski said. “There have been so many instances where our customers have told family friends to go see so and so — he’ll take good care of you. That’s unbeatable.”

Indeed it is.

And remember, just because Schuyler Savings is smaller in size, it doesn’t mean the perks of big-time banking aren’t there, either.

The bank offers all of the usual banking services — from mortgages, to auto loans, to checking and savings accounts with debit cards and more. And they do so with a modern flare. Electronic banking is available, as is phone banking. So if it’s 2 a.m. and you need to check your account balance, you can do so with ease with the company’s modern platforms.

“The younger people often prefer to do their banking at 11 p.m. in their pajamas in front of the computer screen,” Halski said. “And that’s just fine — we offer all the tools to do just that.”

Lastly, Halski says he takes pride that Schuyler Savings is consistently rated a five-star bank by Bauer Financial, a financial-services industryrating organization.

“Their rating lets our customers know we’re one of the strongest banks in the country,” Halski said. “We’ve been able to, over the years, keep that rating because we treat the money we have with respect. I personally would never do anything with anyone else’s money that I wouldn’t do with my own.

“That philosophy, along with our strong board of directors, has kept us successful, even in the years when the economy wasn’t strong.”

To contact Schuyler Savings Bank, call 201-991-0001 or visit www.schuylersavings.com to find out all of the services the bank offers beyond what’s already been mentioned.

The Harrison branch can be reached at 973-412-1266.

Hours of operation at both offices are:

Banking: Monday to Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Loan-Department: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those who need the loan department after 6 p.m. may call 201-991-6078 to schedule an after-hours appointment.

Walk-up window: Monday to Saturday, 8 to 9 a.m.; and Monday to Wednesday, 3 to 6 p.m.

Drive-through: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

EcuAmerica Car Service will get you where you need to go


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

NEWARK – At one point or another in your life, you’ve probably needed to hire a car service, whether it’s to get you to an important meeting, or to Newark Liberty International Airport — or various other locations.

But it’s never an easy process deciding which service to use.

You want the best price and the best service, but with so many choices out there, it’s almost impossible to make the final decision on which company to use. But that decision shouldn’t be so hard anymore, because EcuAmerica Car Service, located in the Ironbound section of Newark, is ready to take you wherever you’ve got to go at the most reasonable prices in the area.

The company has been in its current setup since 2011, but has served the area much longer than that under different management and ownership. Now, they have a fleet of 70 cars, ranging from Lincoln Town Cars to Crown Victorias to minivans to Toyotas that will take you anywhere in the country.

They’ll pick you up at home and take you to any airport — including Newark- Liberty, LaGuardia and JFK. They’ll take you anywhere you might need to go in the tri-state area. And they’ll go well beyond that, according to EcuAmerica’s Business Manager Jajaira Colon.

“We do service the entire tri-state area, but that’s not all,” Colon said. “We’ve taken people to many different places — and had a trip recently to Massachusetts. So if you need to get somewhere, we’ll get you there.”

And while there are, indeed, many choices locally for car service, Colon says there are a few reasons why EcuAmerica stands out above the competition. First, she says, are EcuAmerica’s rates.

“You will find that our rates are the best out there,” Colon said. “Few, if any, can top what we offer price-wise.”

If you book with EcuAmerica, you won’t need cash, necessarily, either. The company accepts all major credit cards for payment before making a trip. They also offer corporate monthly accounts for customers who rely on car service for more than just a trip or two.

“We have numerous accounts for customers or corporations that use us on a regular basis,” Colon said. “And the best part is we’ll work with everyone on the rates and payment arrangements. We want the overall experience to be a positive one.”

To ensure that positive experience, Colon says customers will find the entire process for hiring a car a pleasant one, from the initial reservation phone call to the actual journey itself.

“We pride ourselves on making the entire experience a good one,” Colon said. “Whether it’s when one of the ladies who answer the phones to take the initial reservation — or with the driver — it’s always enjoyable. We ensure everyone pays close attention to the needs of the customers, whether it’s taking baggage and putting it into the car for them, or anything else. Our goal is to help the customers because we want them to come back.”

And it appears they do come back.

Many of the customers serviced by EcuAmerica are repeats, so their customer service model appears to be paying off.

“That’s why we’re here,” Colon said. “We know we have to do what’s best for the customers. We’re here to serve them — and that’s just one of the reasons why we are as successful as we are.”

To make a reservation, or for a price quote, call EcuAmerica at 973-344-0555 or visit www.ecuamericataxinj.com. Reservations and car services are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, including all major holidays. Most office workers and most drivers speak or understand Portuguese as well as English.

High-quality, bilingual talent at Coccia


By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 


If you’ve driven along Kearny Ave., you’ve no doubt seen the Coccia Realty office. And no matter where you go in town, you’ve seen its neat-looking signs on lawns of homes for sale.

And it’s not just in Kearny. There’s a big reason why Coccia signs are seen so often — it’s because for more than 50 years, since 1961, when Joseph Coccia Jr. first opened the agency to this day under the ownership and leadership of John “Jan” Kwapniewski — Coccia has always represented the very best there is in real estate.

Kwapniewski first got his real-estate license in 1985 — and then, just four short years later, he bought Coccia Realty and became its president.

Since that time, he’s opened four more offices — in Lyndhurst, Rutherford, Madison and Montville — and has expanded what was once a single-office entity into a real-estate powerhouse that employs more than 100 agents. And, by April 2015, there will be two more offices: one in Secaucus and another in Clifton.

Many of the agents speak more than one language, too, and that’s critical in today’s world. Speakers of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Polish will find an agent who can speak in their native tongue to make the home buying or selling process that much easier.

So just what is it that makes Coccia stand out from the rest? Well, for starters, Kwapniewski has never forgotten what it’s like to be new to the business, and as such, he imparts his experience and knowledge to his team as a mentor and coach. He does everything in his power to ensure all of his employees are the best-trained and most knowledgeable in the industry.

And because of Coccia’s connection to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, that training is the best in the business, he says.

“The training Better Homes and Gardens offers is outstanding,” Kwapniewski said. “And it’s constant. They offer our agents live training, live webinars, pre-recorded seminars and weekly training on issues in the industry that are that are critical.”

Because of his style of leadership, and because of the topnotch training available to his agents, Kwapniewski says he’s always been able to attract the highest-quality talent to come to work for him.

“My goal always has been and always will be not to have the largest quantity of agents, but the strongest quality,” he said. “I don’t just hire anyone — and I am not afraid to let someone go if they’re not willing to work with our standards. But when there are people who can focus on our mission — people who are committed to learning, those are the people I want working with us.”

Kwapniewski says it’s also important to note that some of the best agents are those who have been well mentored. He says each new agent is managed and mentored by a superior.

“To be really good agent, you’ve got to mentored and nurtured,” he said. “And it takes about two years, in reality, for that mentorship to develop into something special.”

Why hook up with Better Homes?

While Kwapniewski has the statistics to prove he’s got the most sales and volume in our readership area, he says he wanted something more for the business. He really didn’t need to rebrand Coccia as most already know the Coccia brand and name. But he opted to rebrand to reinvent what he’s already succeeded at.

“They were after me for at least three years,” Kwapniewski said of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. “Their business model was fresh and put together by some of the brightest minds in the industry. And with the power and support of their branding, overall, it’s better for the consumer — and a win-win for the agents because of the aforementioned training.”

In-house marketing and advertising

One of the other major areas where Kwapniewski says Coccia is different from the rest is that agents are not asked to perform social media or advertising on their own. He’s got a full-time social media expert on staff who does all the Tweeting and Facebook work. And, the company pays for all advertising.

Many other agencies demand agents pay for their own advertising and require them to do their own social media branding.

“Not with us,” Kwapniewski said. “Our agents’ job is customer service and to negotiate deals. We’ve got our own back office that does the brokerage, marketing, advertising and promotion. We don’t ask our agents to spend their own money. Others do, and in many cases, the agents don’t have the money to be spending. If it’s between putting food on the table or marketing your house, you know the choices they have to make.

“That is never the case with us. We do it all for them. And it benefits our people and our consumers.”

To get in touch with Kwapniewski, call him at Coccia’s Kearny office at 201-997-7000 or stop in at 636 Kearny Ave., or visit www.cocciarealty.com.

Have a workers’ comp case? John Pinho’s the man you want representing you


By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 


If there’s one thing that makes our area special, it’s that there are numerous attorneys you can turn to for whatever the reason. And when it comes to workers’ compensation cases, right in our backyards is one of the state’s most noted workers comp attorneys.

John Pinho has had a presence in West Hudson for 17 years. During that time, he specialized in many different kinds of cases, including municipal court matters and much more.

But now, after operating a private practice in Harrison, Pinho has moved on to where it all began for him before he opened his practice — at the law firm of Javerbaum, Wurgaft, Hicks, Kahn, Wikstrom & Sinins, which has five offices in New Jersey — in Springfield, Newark, Freehold, Jersey City and Elizabeth — and one in New York City.

So why did Pinho opt to return to the first firm he’d ever worked for after 17 highly successful years in private practice, where he was his own boss?

It was an easy choice, he says. Read more »

Business Review: New practice, same personality for Lyndhurst doctor


By Anthony Machchinski
Observer Correspondent

In April 2012, The Observer featured an article about Dr. Maria Domingues, a young and energetic optometrist beginning her practice at Lyndhurst, her second office.

Nearly two years later, the ever-jovial and kind-hearted Domingues continues to expand her business while still maintaining her attentiveness towards each individual patient.

“I want to be able to still offer that one-to-one service (to my patients) and have the ability to talk with them on a personal level,” Domingues said.

While Domingues is passionate about her career, her path to optometry was not conventional. Read more »

Have a wedding, lunch or dinner at one of Bergen County’s best, Il Villaggio

Il Villaggio_web

By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 


For years, it’s been known as one of the finest Italian restaurants in all of Bergen County. But there’s a little-known secret that Il Villaggio has also sported a banquet hall for weddings and special events for the last six years.

And owner Ralph Magliocchetti hopes people realize that whether it’s a fine lunch, dinner or special event — it can all happen at the ristorante he’s owned for the last 35 years.

“We do lunch during the week and dinner every night but Sunday,” he said.

So what sets him apart from other Italian restaurants? It’s the service and his staff he says.

“I have some waiters who have been with me for 25 … 30 years,” he said. “I have bartenders who have been with me 25 to 30 years. So when people come here, they know the people who will serve them. And the service is unmatched anywhere.”

That in and of itself is quite extraordinary, considering how in so many other establishments, there’s immense turnover. But there’s even more, he says.

“We’re most noted for our fish,” he said. “We use only the freshest and top-quality ingredients — and that certainly sets us apart from the rest.”

Beyond lunch, served weekdays from 11:30 a.m., and dinner, served weeknights from 3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturdays from 5 to 11 p.m., Il Villaggio’s banquet halls, which opened six years ago, offer the perfect spot for a wedding, a prom, corporate events or any other type of large-scale event requiring catering.

There are rooms of varying sizes, including one that can hold more than 200 people. There are special packages for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and sweet 16s. There is a buffet menu — or there is a five- and six-course menu to choose from.

The buffet can include anything from a fruit display to a salad station to a carving station with London broil, Vermont turkey, glazed honey ham, boneless loin of pork to a pasta station with penne ala vodka, prosciutto and fennel, tortellini alla panna, cavatelli with broccoli, garlic and oil or farfalle pasta primavera. And then some.

There are also assorted veal and chicken dishes and an assortment of desserts.

All of these offerings are also available at the restaurant, also.

So if you’re looking for a spot for a wedding, a religious event, a corporate event — or if you’re simply craving a fine Italian meal without having to travel into Manhattan, give Il Villaggio a try — you simply won’t be disappointed.

“We were there just a few weeks and had a spectacular dinner,” said Ceil Cologne, 62, of Belleville, who dined at Il Villaggio with her husband and two dear friends last month. “And we just cannot wait to go back. Everything was tremendous from the start of the meal to the very end. And the atmosphere — oh, the elegance is just wonderful. We just love it there. “

And the best part is it’s all in our backyard — we don’t have to go all the way to the city for a classy dinner.”

Il Villaggio is located at 651 Rt. 17 N., Carlstadt. For additional information, call 201-935-7733 or visit www.ilvillaggio.com where you’ll find more photos and menus and where you’ll also be able to make a reservation.

Breathtaking Manhattan views prevail at Battello Restaurant & Catering


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 


The views at Battello are stunning. In fact, on three sides of the restaurant, you’ll have a direct look at the New York City skyline, including the soon-to-be-completed 1 World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower). You’ll also be surrounded by some of the most beautiful yachts and boats you’ll ever see.

And if you’re looking for a great meal — or a venue for a wedding or corporate event … or even a prom — it’s tough to look at Battello and think of anywhere else, frankly.

It’s been open since April.

And General Manager Fia Berisha says business has taken off beyond what anyone, including owner Cory Checket, could have dreamed.

“It’s been just amazing so far,” Berisha said. “Our owner lives in Jersey City and owns another bar in Hoboken. One day, he saw what was going on here and he wanted to buy it immediately. He fell in love with the space, found investors — and did just that – he bought it. And it’s been wonderful since.”

Indeed it has.

Two weekends ago, Battello hosted its first-ever wedding.

“Imagine having a wedding with a view of the Freedom Tower?” Berisha said. “It just never gets old. We have about eight more weddings booked the rest of the year, and we’re hoping to be able to book even more as we get closer to 2015.”

What separates Battello from other restaurants, Berisha says, is the staff, the menu and the location. Almost everyone on staff is younger than 35, the head chef is a top-25 rated chef in New Jersey and the overall team works brilliantly together.

“We’re open seven days a week, and we’re doing about 300 dinners a night and 200 lunches or brunches a day,” Berisha said. “We spent a lot of time putting the menu and cocktail list together. We actually used a mixologist for the cocktails and the offerings are amazing.”

Since the Newport section of Jersey City continues to grow as a hotspot — especially for young professionals — Berisha says she hopes, one day soon, the area is seen as similar to what’s happening in parts of Brooklyn.

“And we hope to attract tourists,” she said. “With the Westin and Marriot hotels so close, we want them here. We want the Montclair foodies to come here as they would elsewhere. And we’re certain they’ll like what they see.”

The menu at Battello is mostly Italian with a seafood flare. But there are also daily specials that allow the chefs to “think outside the box,” Berisha says.

“It’s another thing that helps us to stand apart from the rest,” she said. “Each day, we give the chefs a chance to come with something new, something different. And they appreciate being able to prepare outside the box. Not every restaurant gives that opportunity to its chefs. We do.”

Aside from an outstanding menu, which you can find at www.battellojc.com, there’s an acoustic happy hour every Thursday from 5 p.m. on. The music is mellow enough that bar-goers enjoy it — as do those who are dining.

And then, Berisha says, every Friday and Saturday, the lounge stays open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

“And we hope more and more people come to eat first, and then make their way to the lounge,” she said. “We’ve got live music — and I hope we’re soon able to bring in more bands for the weekends.

“We really want to have a City Winery feel — and I think we’ve accomplished that on this side of the river. And in the future, we hope to include more dinner and a show events other nights of the week. We’re truly doing our best to show that we are, indeed, the best.”

Battello is located at 502 Washington Boulevard, in the Newport section of Jersey City on the Hudson River waterfront. Visit them online at www.battellojc.com for hours of operation, to make reservations or to see photos of the facilities. Call 201-798-1798.

Brother’s Bakery is on a roll – and it takes the cake!


By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 


If you’ve ever driven past Brother’s Quality Bakery- Deli late at night, chances are you’ve smelled that incredible scent coming from the ovens. If you pause for a second right now, you can probably recall just how great an aroma it is.

And if you’ve ordered a sandwich of any kind — especially that Taylor ham, egg and cheese sandwich — you’ve probably had it on a roll made at Brother’s.

And yet, in a real sense, Brother’s Bakery is so much more than just its bread. And it’s been that way for close to 40 years now.

“We offer some of the finest French and Italian breads available,” said Brother’s general manager Jackie Diaz. “We also offer cakes for any occasion, custom-made cakes, 3-D cakes and more — and we always use the freshest ingredients. Never anything frozen.”

Brother’s is also known for distributing its well-loved bread throughout the region.

“We distribute all over,” Diaz said. “We have customers in Scotch Plains, customers in New York City — all over really.”

Brother’s also recently made the decision to reopen its deli.

“We had had a deli before but stopped,” Diaz said. “But our customers told us they wanted the deli back. They always use our breads for their sandwiches, so it made sense that if they came here, they could do it all in one stop. And we love our customers for it.

“Many people come in, start off with a cup of coffee, then get a sandwich — and then finish things off with dessert.”

Diaz says customers can get all kinds of sandwiches made, including paninis and wraps.

Thomas Gencarelli and his family have owned Brother’s since the day its doors opened in 1976. It was Tommy, Nick and Frank Gencarelli who started the business. And now Tommy runs the bakery with Diaz.

Diaz says she and Tommy are grateful for their loyal customers who keep coming back, day in and day out, year in and year out.

“We really do appreciate our customers’ support,” she said. “We always try our best to provide the best quality products — and it’s our hope we continue to do so for many years to come.”

Considering how many people across the country ask on Facebook about having bread delivered to them — including many in Florida — it makes sense Brother’s will continue to be one of Kearny’s greatest and longest- standing businesses for a long time to come.

Said one Facebook fan: “Good morning Brother’s Bakery. I would like to recommend that you ship your hard rolls out of state to Florida by prepaid special request.”

Brother’s Bakery is located at 365 Kearny Ave., at Liberty St., Kearny. For information, call 201-991-4364 or find them on Facebook at www.facebook. com/BrothersQuality- BakeryNJ. Hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday; and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Frank’s GMC: 84 years selling vehicles


By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 

Frank Pezzolla Sr. probably never thought that when he opened his business around 1930 with just a handful of employees, that decades later, what was once a mechanic’s garage would turn into one of the most successful GMC dealerships in America with in excess of 100 employees.

But that’s precisely what has happened — and now, some 84 years later — the Lyndhurst-based business continues to thrive, and people from all over the area have chosen Frank’s GMC as their dealership of choice when the time comes for a new vehicle.

For the first seven years of operation, Frank’s was just a garage. But everything changed when in 1937, Pezzolla was granted a GMC franchise. As the business grew, so did the need for space — and in 1978, the Pezzolla family moved the dealership from its original Ridge Road location to where it’s been ever since — on Orient Way.

But what separates Frank’s from many other GMC dealers is that Frank’s has a strong focus on trucks. You’ll notice that the moment you arrive at the showroom.

And while much has changed over the years, there are a few constants that very few businesses can claim: It’s still owned by the Pezzolla family and their commitment to customers is unparalleled.

General Manager Frank “Frankie” Pezzolla has been part of the family business for more than four decades. He started working there while he was in high school, sweeping floors and stocking parts. And now, as the general manager, he oversees a business that has thrived despite GM’s tough economic times that hit several years ago when the entire auto industry nearly collapsed.

“I’ve been in sales, at least part-time, since 1978,” Pezzolla said. “Back then I went to my uncle (current Observer General Manager) Bobby (Pezzolla) and told him I wanted to sell. And over that time, I’d like to think we’ve done it right. While much of the rest of the industry suffered, we were still doing well.”

Indeed they were. And still are.

But how did they do it? 

It’s pretty simple, Pezzolla said.

“We treat everyone like family,” he said. “When you do that, you succeed. I’ve got a lot of employees who have been here with me for 40 years or more, including one of my sales managers, Chris (Koumoulis). I couldn’t do this without him or the rest of my family.”

There are quite a few other Pezzollas still working at Frank’s, including Frankie’s dad Frank Pezzolla Jr., the company’s president; and Frankie’s brothers Michael, who is in charge of the parts department, and Joseph, the service manager.

“And my dad is still involved almost every day,” Pezzolla said. “He’s comes in almost every day and still has a very active role in what we do here.”

More than what you see 

If you’ve ever driven along Orient Way, and have seen Frank’s, chances are you’ve noticed the inventory of personal trucks and vehicles sitting out front or inside the newly remodeled showroom. But what you don’t readily see are the commercial trucks Frank’s also sells that are out back and away from the public eye.

“So in essence, we have two businesses — the vehicles people see, and a commercial side,” Pezzolla said. “People don’t see all the big trucks, like the ones you see going in and out of New York City. But we absolutely have a freight line. We sell Hinos and Isuzu trucks — and that’s known as Frank’s Truck Center.”

Pezzolla says the commercial end of the business played a huge role in the company staying afloat during the economic downturn.

“It kept us going,” he said. “They were really our bread and butter. And what is great is that often, the people who come in to buy our commercial trucks often buy from us for their personal vehicle needs. Everyone needs a personal vehicle, right? Sometimes, we see five GMCs sitting in their driveways — and we love that.”

Pezzolla credits his father, his brothers and his uncle Bobby for really giving him the impetus for success at Frank’s. And he hopes it continues for many years down the line.

“Bobby was probably the best salesman I’ve ever seen, and he taught me so much,” Pezzolla said. “And dad taught me so much too. We’ve been very fortunate. And I know I am grateful.”

Frank’s GMC and Frank’s Truck Center is located at 325 Orient Way, Lyndhurst. For additional information, call 201- 806-1466 for sales, 201-806-1464 for service or visit them online at www.FranksGMC.net.

Showroom hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays. Frank’s is closed on Sundays. Service hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday; and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays. Parts are open 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays; and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays.

For more information about Frank’s Truck Center, call 877-469-6304.