Babyabad: A family business that came as an unexpected gift

Since he was a child, José Celestino Abad Torres washed the cars his father had brought from San Juan and, using a screwdriver, removed the small stones that were stuck in the tires so the car was clean before they got into someone’s hands. client.

This is how he learned the value of business, without ever imagining that decades later he would become such a successful car salesman that he made his family’s business thrive with four dealerships, located on a road they call “Baby Road”.

It’s a story Babyabad, a Caye man born 76 years ago in the Mattoon Abago neighbourhood, charted his way into the auto industry by building a business that began selling 10 cars on the highway.

It didn’t take long for him to get a call from Mr. Felix Rivera, owner of a Toyota dealership in Caye, with whom he had worked for a decade until he offered to sell it, as he was considering retirement from the business.

It was a Toyota dealership, but I sold more imported cars. Don Felix Rivera imported many hand-picked, beautiful cars and was very responsible. It taught me to look good with the client even if someone loses money; “If the car breaks down, give it another one and get out of trouble,” recalls the son of Jose Abad Zambrana and Eulalia Torres Romero.

“I worked with him for 10 years and he asked if I had $80,000 or $90,000 to spend recently on remodeling the agency. I had to stay with the dealer because he felt old and wanted to leave it to me, it was a gift because he wasn’t charging me, but his investment On Improvements,” he revealed the agreement reached in 1981.

The name of his company, Pepe Abad, was suggested by the Gómez Hermanos family that owned the Toyota franchise at the time.

“In the end, my son Babu dropped out of college and came to work with me. I took him to the merchant’s offices, I authorized him to sign checks at the banks, sign contracts and buy cars. I had to learn to do what I did so that I could free myself a little bit,” said Wanda’s father, Brenda and Jose “Papu Abad Vega, he learned quickly.

I bought used cars because at that time new cars were organizing profit. Used and imported cars had to be sold, which kept the business going. He was a small dealer, a larger one appeared due to the demands of Toyota, he no longer fit there. He explained that for 1998, which is where we are today, in front of Walgreens, PR-1 Highway.

In doing so, complete the form requested by Toyota by adding a parts store and service workshop. This is before establishing a closer relationship with his sons, who became business partners.

“With Babu and Brenda’s relations with the trade, the opportunity arose for the Kia line, they consulted me. There I gave every one a stake. From then on we are partners. That was when I started Kia, circa 2010.”

“After that, the Nissan dealer had a few applicants, I was satisfied with Toyota and Kia, but Motorambar insisted he wanted us to go because of the confidence in my children because Kia was already from Motorambar; it is the company that distributes Kia and Nissan in Puerto Rico,” he reviews Regarding the acquisition of the second and third agency.

According to Don Pepe, the newest dealer is Hyundai.

For her part, Brenda Abad recalled how she got started in her father’s company and the way it was combined to play a related role.

“I was three years old when my dad started with the merchant Babyabad. Since I was young I have been doing simple things, since I was 10; I filled out licenses and made contracts and helped with that kind of thing. Then I went to study marketing and got married And I went to the United States,” noting that he returned to the island after the events of September 11, 2001.

The 44-year-old explained that family work generates about 190 direct job opportunities, in addition to places that indirectly provide maintenance, security, gardening and other services.

“We are joining all the companies at Empresas Pepe Abad and preparing ourselves for the next years of our development. I feel comfortable with the team, giving them support, so I can focus on how we are ready. That is already set up, if another dealer comes in, we are ready,” he emphasized.

While his brother Jose stated that “the rule begins with following the rules, we are honest and take care of our customers.”

“It is a family business. We have formed a team and strengthened it. Find the strengths of each and try to maximize them. Try to get the best out of each one,” concluded the 51-year-old businessman.

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