Who knew that when Jim Arrigo, along with his father Joe, purchased his first auto dealership --- a 50-year-old Dodge only facility on Okeechobee Boulevard near I-95 --- back in 1989 that he would eventually transform it into one of the largest and most successful dealerships in the country?
Then again, given the Arrigo family's history in (and passion for) the auto business, maybe we all should have seen it coming.
Joe Arrigo, the patriarch of the family, had been selling cars for as long as Jim can remember (nearly 60 years to be exact). In fact, Jim grew up idolizing his father and always knew that one day he, too, wanted to be involved in that world.
Jim, who grew up in Chicago, attended Western Illinois University where he earned his degree in management and a minor in marketing. After graduation, he spent a few months working at a car dealership in Atlanta before joining Deerfield Beach based Southeast Toyota, owned by Jim Moran --- who his father had actually worked for 30 years earlier.
"I worked there for about 10 years," said Arrigo. "I did anything that needed to be done and really enjoyed it."
It was after those 10 years that, in 1989, father and son decided to buy that Dodge dealership in West Palm Beach. It was a 30,000 square foot facility sitting on a 5-acre lot, but it was also the beginning of something much bigger --- not only for Jim and Joe, but for the entire Arrigo family.
Two years later, Jim bought his father out, but Joe stayed on as Chairman of the Board. Then in 1993, Jim's brother John and his sister Virginia Landrum joined the team. John then assumed the role of General Manager and Virginia was named CEO. Other family members have joined in the years since, including a couple brothers-in-law, Don Landrum and Bob Watson.
Jim Arrigo added the Chrysler and Jeep brands in 2003 after purchasing them from Roger Penske and, the next year, Arrigo Dodge Chrysler Jeep moved into its new home.