ShareThis Page

Monessen car dealer reverts to repair shop

| Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008

Begun in 1930, Frank's Service Garage Inc. serviced automobiles for five years before selling new cars.

"That's why we never changed our name," said Robert Mandarino, one of the co-owners of the business.

Now, more than 70 years later, Frank's is going back to its roots.

Currently located at 57 Donner Ave., Monessen, the business was opened by Frank Mandarino - for whom it was named - and his four sons: Ralph, Rich, Robert and Raymond.

It was originally located at the island where a war memorial now sits, across the street from its current home.

The dealership moved to the current location after a downtown redevelopment.

Bob McKelvie was a partner with Frank Mandarino for the first year or two of the business. After he left, he operated a dealership for many years, where the current city garage is now located in Monessen.

The service garage became a DeSoto and Plymouth dealership in 1935.

When DeSotos went off the market in 1960, Frank's began selling Chrysler cars.

Born and raised in Monessen, Robert Mandarino began working at the business in 1935, when he was just 10. He pumped gas in the beginning and later worked in the parts department for a number of years.

He began selling cars in 1974, after his father passed away and his brothers, Ray and Ralph, left the business. Ray Mandarino moved to Nevada and Raymond became a teacher.

Robert Mandarino served his country from 1943 to 1946 and fought in World War II. But otherwise, he has been with Frank's for the past 73 years.

Today, Robert Mandarino co-owns the business with his three nephews: Rich's three sons Larry, Richard and Ron Mandarino.

Robert Mandarino said the decision to stop selling Chryslers was mutual, made by the dealership and Chrysler Corp. The discontinuation of Frank's as a Chrysler dealership became effective July 31.

Frank's stopped selling new Plymouth cars in 2000 and was hampered because it had a limited number of makes to offer customers, Robert Mandarino said.

He said Frank's had not been selling enough new cars to warrant continuing that aspect of the business.

"It was a tough decision, especially when we've been doing it for all of these years," Frank Mandarino said. "But a decision had to be made. We hung on as along as we could.

"Monessen has been good to us."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me