Gerard DeGregoris Sr. founded Gregoris Datsun in August 1967. Fifty years later, though the business has expanded — and the name changed when Nissan phased out Datsuns in 1986 — it is still run by the same family in Valley Stream.
“We’ve been here all our lives,” said Richard DeGregoris, Gerard’s son and the current vice president of the dealership. “That’s where we have our business, and we have a good customer base.”
Over the course of his life, DeGregoris, 54, saw how the dealership changed. He said that when his father started his own dealership in 1957, he specialized in selling used Chryslers, but as gasoline became scarcer in the 1960s, Datsun became a more popular brand to sell.
In 2000, the DeGregorises also started selling Subarus and changed the name once again to Gregoris Nissan and Subaru.
“It’s been exciting to see the changes in cars,” he said.
The size of the dealership also changed. At first, DeGregoris said, it was a three-car showroom with a small service center in the back. Over time, though, the dealership bought out businesses surrounding it, including a candy store and a junkyard, to expand its showroom and its service center.
About 15 years ago, Richard and his brother, Robert, began working full-time at the dealership. Richard managed new and used car operations, while Robert ran the service center. Their older brother, Gerard Jr., sold cars on the weekends when he was not working as an attorney.
DeGregoris Sr. oversaw all of their work until he died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer. He was 81.
“He was here, always working,” DeGregoris said of his father, “and he wanted to mentor us into running the business, which he did.”
To mark the dealership’s 50 years in Valley Stream, the DeGregoris brothers offered a sale in September. For more information about the dealership and other promotions, call (516) 835-8700.