He was raised in the projects of Brooklyn, New York, and through what he calls “ being opportunist, ” has amassed an car conglomerate hera in the Tampa Bay area—the Fink Auto Group .
Fink Auto Group includes Genesis of New Port Richey, Volkswagen of New Port Richey, Hyundai of Wesley Chapel, Genesis of Wesley Chapel, Mazda of Wesley Chapel and Chevrolet of Wesley Chapel. The crown bejewel is Hyundai of New Port Richey, which has been the highest-volume Hyundai franchise in the United States for eight consecutive years .
In March, Fink Auto Group was acquired by Lithia Motors, but Fink retained possession of Volkswagen of Wesley Chapel and the soon-to-open Subaru of Wesley Chapel.
With a entire of $ 430 million in gross in 2020, Fink admits he ’ second come a hanker way from his humble beginnings. He is still the lapp guy, precisely with much cooler wheels and toys .
Fink is the third-born, of three boys. His parents grew up as orphans and met as children. They married when they came of senesce, his church father 20 and his mother 18. They raised their class in Brooklyn, in the projects outside of Sheepshead Bay .
“ My beget was a propertyless guy. It ’ s not like we were athirst, but money was constantly a subject of conversation, ” Fink says. “ And the subject of conversation was how we didn ’ t have any. ”
His church father bought the family ’ second first base, in Rockland County, New York, when he was 52 years previous .
Fink attended Wagner College, in Staten Island, New York, on a path scholarship and thousands in student loans. He studied account, which made sense to him, as he was reasonably good at mathematics, he says .
His parents moved to Florida when Fink was a sophomore in college .
“ I was caught between a rock and a hard place because my beget said, ‘ If you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate get a job, you ’ ll just have to move to Florida, to Delray Beach, ” Fink says, adding it was a retirement residential district. “ I was like, well, that ’ s not happening. ”
fink ended up with a job at Brooklyn Union Gas, which at the time was the largest independent utility serving all of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island .
His subcontract paid $ 19,200— “ big money, ” he says of the time .
“ You go through these series of interviews, ” Fink recalls. “ They decided I should go into auditing. They said, ‘ If we put him in staff report, he will likely kill himself, and if we put him on fiscal accounting, he will kill everybody else. ’ So I went into audit, which got me in front of people, which is kind of my thing—more than anything else. ”
He studied and took the certifiable populace accountant ’ randomness examination. During that fourth dimension, you had to pass multiple parts to earn the appellation. He passed merely one .
“ I was like, I don ’ metric ton want to do this, ” Fink says. “ I made the decision then that I was going to try to leave and get a different job. ”
Fink would scour the New York Times, every Sunday, looking for potential new career paths. For a class, he sent handwritten cover letters and résumés to manque employers .
“ I finally got a bite. All it said was a ‘ large automobile manufacturer, ’ ” he says .
He had to travel to Teterboro, New Jersey, for the interview, which he late found out was for Ford Motor Co .
“ I consultation and I think it goes bang-up. I ’ thousand equitable thus pumped up. It was for the sales and market division, ” he says. “ But they filled the problem internally. ”
Down the mansion, he heard, Lincoln Mercury was hiring. He got that job, and it changed the trajectory of his career forever .
He did well in this fresh function and was promoted multiple times, going from making $ 25,000 a year to $ 52,000 a year, over the duration of three years .
“ I didn ’ triiodothyronine know what I didn ’ triiodothyronine know. I was thinking, at this pace, I ’ vitamin d be making $ 1 million a year, ” he says with a laugh .
The caller promoted Fink to his first management status, where he ran the regional commercialize department for the Lincoln Mercury division, for the east coast .
“ I realized, in short holy order, that I was never going to be able to rise up to the highest levels of management in the company, ” Fink says. “ I was smart enough to know that there was going to be a cap on my career growth. And I knew this management job that they promoted me to, the following move would be to Detroit. ”
One of the cool things, Fink says, about the job he was in was he would get to meet cable car dealers, help and support them to improve their operations and build relationships with them through the territories he oversaw .
“ Part of my role was to sell cars wholesale to the dealers from the factory, but actually it was to build relationships and show them ways they could improve their business, ” Fink says. “ Factories build the cars, but they don ’ thymine sell the car, they sell them to the dealer. ”
Fink had befriended a successful Lincoln Mercury trader ; his name is Michael Cohen. His family ran a car franchise business, but he was considering branching out on his own, and he wanted Fink to come oeuvre with him .
“ so, we talked about it and then we had to go find a deal. We ’ ra talking all the time. You know, we have no cellphones, right ? so, I ’ molarity going to earphone booths on the side of the road. Remember 100 years ago, you had, like, a beeper ? ” Fink recalls, laughing .
They started eyeing up a group of dealerships in Dallas. Nothing materialized on that .
“ then one day, Mike was going to play golf with the senior frailty president for Mitsubishi Motors, Rick Lepley, ” Fink says. “ Rick says to Mike, ‘ We ’ ve got this franchise in Clearwater, Florida. The owner is not felicitous with Mitsubishi and wants out. ’ then, the owner basically said, if we don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate help find him a buyer for the occupation, ‘ I am going to padlock the doorway and close it down. ’ ”
Fink says when he heard of the opportunity from Cohen, he couldn ’ metric ton locate Clearwater on a map .
After visiting the Clearwater franchise, Cohen and Fink went all in. Fink was the 10-percent “ equity guy, ” as he calls it. They closed the conduct in July 1989 .
Fink says, in the beginning, he didn ’ thyroxine know what he was doing .
“ I had never managed anyone or sold anything, ” he says. “ For like the first six months, all I did was watch. ”
The business took a score the first base class, but, in class two, the business went from losing $ 1 million a class to breaking even .
“ I learned that my account background was helpful, because I could read and understand a fiscal statement, expense control, margins and stock, ” he says .
In class three, the occupation started to make money and turn. For the year, Clearwater Mitsubishi finished as the largest volume Mitsubishi franchise in America, outselling all 700-plus dealerships .
By raising the profile of the memory, and going all-in on radio advertisements, the franchise was back to being profitable and the Fink automobile empire was about to get much larger .
Carlisle Lincoln Mercury, the No. 1 Lincoln Mercury dealer in the U.S., had a buy-sell agreement with the Toyota franchise future to Fink ’ s franchise on U.S. Highway 19., and the underlie real estate which, efficaciously, would make Carlisle Fink ’ s new landlord .
“ In the agreement that my partner put together for the Mitsubishi franchise, he insisted on having the ‘ right of beginning refusal ’ on the Toyota franchise, which was owned by the same person. We had 15 days to match the Carlisle deal. He asks me, ‘ What do you think ? ’ I ’ m like, ‘ We ’ ve got to figure out a way to do it, ’ ” Fink says .
In 1996, Cohen and Fink bought the Toyota franchise for about $ 1 million “ bluing flip ” and the consociate real estate of the realm and buildings .
once we got operations improved and processes in set, we were selling about 500 new and use vehicles a calendar month and making in truth full money, ” Fink says .
Around this time, Fink was about 35 years erstwhile, and Cohen and Fink were looking for an exit strategy with their joint businesses, the two stores and the underlie real estate of the realm .
“ I had lunch with a well friend, Ken Marks [ another major car principal in the Tampa Bay area ], and he ’ second going to sell his large Ford franchise to Sonic Automotive, another big consolidator at the forefront, ” Fink says. “ [ Marks ] agrees to give me an presentation and I wind up talking to the guys at Sonic. We put a deal together and sell the two businesses to Sonic. ”
Cohen and Fink sold their business for 10 times what they bought it for, Fink says .
“ I had a three-year use agreement with [ Sonic ]. And I was going to run their stores here and take on a leadership character within this fledgling new populace company, ” Fink says .
finally, Fink sold his busy real number estate to a real estate of the realm investment hope. He made it two years into his Sonic narrow and resigned .
“ I didn ’ t like it, ” Fink says. “ The analogy I use is, you ’ re a business owner and if you want to sit in your office wearing your gymnasium clothes, no one is going to tell you that you can ’ t. Well, now I come in and I buy your company and I tell you that you can ’ t do that. ”
At this point in his career, Fink realized he was a full-fledged entrepreneur .
“ I was 37 and I had accumulated about $ 5.5 million and was like, ‘ Check ! ’ I never have to work again, ” he says with a joke .
He and his wife considered moving back to the northeast. They even put an offer on a theater. But it wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate meant to be .
“ [ My wife ] got up in the middle of the night, at 3 oxygen ’ clock in the dawn, and I ’ m sitting in the chair. She ’ s like, ‘ What are you doing ? ’ I said, ‘ I can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate sleep, ’ ” Fink recalls. “ She says, ‘ We ’ rhenium not moving to New Jersey, are we ? ’ ”
A handful of months later, Fink got a phone call from a previous employee that used to run the Toyota store for Fink. He requested a meeting .
Hyundai was preparing to award a franchise in New Port Richey and he wanted Fink to collaborator with him on it .
fink trekked up to Saddlebrook to meet with the corporate team and discuss the opportunity .
“ I remember saying to the guy, ‘ Look, all these other dealers out there are great dealers. here ’ s the difference. When you call the Hyundai storehouse in New Port Richey, I ’ thousand going to pick up the phone. These guys are never going to pick up the earphone because they have 10 stores. They ’ re never going to come hera. I ’ meter going to be there 80 hours a workweek, every week. I will drive the business there, ’ ” Fink says .
fink ended up with 14 dealerships .
Fink has been married to his wife, Kathy, for 31 years and has five children, including a set of twins .
He doesn ’ triiodothyronine fun much golf, but he and his kin do enjoy their vacation home in Asheville, North Carolina .
The Fink family owns a beautiful home in South Tampa, which they considered downsize, but with five children, the bombastic home is a necessity in hosting the kin every Sunday .
“ We realized that [ downsize ] would be a big error. Because, you know, every Sunday we get the kids to come here. Everybody comes here for family dinner, ” he says .
Fink besides has a philanthropic kernel. He ’ s the current board president of Berkeley Preparatory School and he is the incoming chair of St. Joseph ’ s Hospital Foundation, where he has sat on the board for more than a decade. He serves on the board of Metropolitan Ministries in addition to serving as the board electric chair for Hyundai Hope on Wheels for six years .
After watching a segment on 60 Minutes one evening with his wife back in 2009, it spurred an aroused reaction about homelessness, and it inspired Fink and his family to get involved with the mission of helping families get back to autonomy .
“ I thought about starting my own foundation, and then I realized that I didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate know enough about it, and I couldn ’ thyroxine wangle it, ” Fink says. “ And then I met the team at [ Metropolitan Ministries ]. They do such a fantastic job helping people, families, in need. My goal was to get a campus in Pasco County, modeled after the expansive campus they have and operate in Tampa. Fink added that the recession hit Florida difficult and the necessitate for support in Pasco was fantastic. The Pasco campus is up and function, with expansion plans in process .
Fink attributes much of his success to time and recognizing opportunities when they are presented.
“ I don ’ t want you to think I had this bright, long-run plan for emergence and expansion, ” Fink says. “ I think one of the big differences, the philosophic differences, [ was ] when I was going to open Hyundai of New Port Richey, I wanted to do it for fun. Like, I was in truth excited. sure, I wanted to make money to ensure the business was self-sufficient, but I wanted to build something significant. ”
now that Fink Auto Group has been acquired by Lithia, Fink remains a share of the company as a adviser, with no operational province, he says .
“ I ’ m an opportunist. I grew up in the projects, ” Fink says. “ You know, these are not generational businesses to me. They ’ re businesses. Of course, you want to make money, right ? Come on. I was good an opportunist, and I will continue to be an opportunist. ” ♦