Ivette Dominguez, a leader among minority General Motors dealers, will buy Mike Shaw Buick GMC in the Motor City area of Colorado Springs on Monday, making her the city’s first minority principal owner of a new car dealership.
The Denver-based executive owns Alpine Buick GMC in Denver and three dealerships in Illinois and will rename the Colorado Springs dealership Alpine Buick GMC-South, she said. Dominguez plans to retain the dealership’s 40 employees, expand advertising and online marketing, boost its focus on military customers and hire bilingual sales personnel.
“This store fits with our business model of smaller stores that are sometimes struggling. Motor City in Colorado Springs is an excellent market with good visibility — it is right off the interstate,” Dominguez said. “Colorado Springs has good demographics. Our top goal is to get involved in the community. It is important to give back to the community and our focus is on women and children.”
Negotiations began about two months ago with a goal of completing the deal by early next year, but talks moved quickly and the deal was reached this month, Dominguez said. Alpine has named Laissa Sanchez, now general manager of its Denver location, as general manager and part owner of the Colorado Springs location.
“We plan to cater to the Spanish-speaking customer. Laissa is bilingual and we are training new sales associates, including three or two who are bilingual. We also will have a military division — this is our third dealership near a military installation,” Dominguez said.
“We will be investing a lot in media. Our (advertising and marketing) budget for December is $80,000 to get our brand out there in Colorado Springs.”
Dominguez will become one of the highest-profile minority business leaders in Colorado Springs, where 15.6 percent of the city’s more than 54,000 businesses were owned by minorities in 2012, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. She chairs General Motors’ Minority Development Advisory Council and also is a member of its Women’s Retail Network.
Dominguez got her start in the automotive business with a summer job at a BMW dealership in Camarillo, Calif. She spent three years there and became the dealership’s top salesperson before she was recruited by Don Massey Cadillac in Denver, where she spent five years before it was acquired by North Carolina-based Sonic Automotive. She was Sonic’s executive manager of General Motors’ products when she left to acquire what is now Alpine.
She turned around the struggling Denver dealership and in the past 1½ years has bought troubled Buick GMC dealerships in Belleville, El Paso and Crystal Lake, Ill. She said she plans to double the number of dealerships she owns during the next five years, looking “anywhere that we see a good opportunity.”
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