When the Gunther family opened its first car dealership on State Road 7 in Fort Lauderdale, cows grazed across the street. That was 1970, and their Volkswagen store was lucky to sell 75 cars per month.
Today, Gunther Motor Co. has grown to six South Florida dealerships, employing more than 500 people. Last year, the family business sold more than 13,000 new and used vehicles. Now, under the helm of its second generation, the company is investing more than $27 million to stay competitive in a business that increasingly demands classy showrooms with Wi-Fi and big inventories.
Gunther is finishing a $16 million expansion of its Kia outlet in Fort Lauderdale and just opened an $8 million addition to its Volkswagen store in Coconut Creek. It soon will start a $3 million upgrade on its original State Road 7 store that has been nipped and tucked repeatedly as urbanization took root.
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Gunther Motor Co.
Business: Sells new and used vehicles. The company began in 1970 with a Volkswagen dealership.
Founded by: Joseph F. Gunther Jr. from St. Louis.
Operations: Gunther has six dealerships. Three are in Fort Lauderdale: Gunther Volkswagen, Gunther Mazda, Gunther KIA. One in Coconut Creek: Gunther Volkswagen. Two in Delray Beach: Gunther Volkswagen and Gunther Volvo.
Headquarters for the company: Fort Lauderdale
Employees: 500-plus employees.
Revenues and sales: In 2014: $369,313,383. 13,463 total retail sales: 9,637 new, 3,826 used.
SOURCE: GUNTHER MOTORS