"Few people have climbed as many rungs on the automotive retail career ladder as Leo Portaluppi," according to a 2013 Automotive News story. It was true then and it is still true today. Join us as Leo Portaluppi, owner of Chevrolet of Columbus, tells the story of his impressive journey to become a successful automotive dealer.
Leo Portaluppi began his career at 18 years of age as a shop helper, with aspirations of becoming a technician. Over the next 13 years at what was then Goodson Honda in Spring, Texas, just outside Houston. Portaluppi went from being a tech, to a service adviser and then a service manager with aspirations of running a dealership. When the owner of that store purchased a struggling dealership in Owensboro, KY, he turned to Portaluppi to turn it around.
After years of serving as a managing partner in Owensboro, he looked for a chance to become an owner.
Although, competition was fierce for the opportunity to own the Columbus Chevrolet dealership, Portaluppi beat out more seasoned veterans to secure the rights to operate a franchise in this market.
Portaluppi invested $4.2 million into the west side facility which opened in June 2016. The city's first new dealership to open its doors in 30 years also signaled the reappearance of the Chevy brand after a four-year absence. The investment triggered additional development on the city's west side.
Many dealers will name a dealership after themselves, but Portaluppi bucked the trend, calling it "Chevrolet of Columbus," signaling a desire to become a part of the community. His support of local charitable initiatives, such as Lincoln Central Neighborhood Family Center, is further evidence of his approach.
At the age of 39, Portaluppi is just getting started. Ambitious plans for growth are underway.
This event is held in partnership with IUPUC's Center for Business and Economic Development.