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Frank's Service Garage is Monessen landmark

| Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011

The sign above the business at the popular corner in Monessen -- Frank's Service Garage Inc. -- remembers its founder, Frank Mandarino.

The business was named for Frank Mandarino, who opened it with his four sons, Ralph, Rich, Robert and Raymond.

Robert Mandarino, a Monessen native, 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 served during World War II. But otherwise, he has been with Frank's for the past 75 years.

He began selling cars in 1974 after his father passed away and his brothers, Ray and Ralph left the business.

For more than seven decades, the business has been located at the intersection of what is now Donner Avenue and Parente Boulevard.

Frank's serviced cars from 1930 until 1935, when it also became an automotive dealership.

When Frank's began selling cars, it did so as a DeSoto and Plymouth dealership in 1935. When DeSotos went off the market in 1960, the business became a Chrysler dealership.

That end of the business continued until 2008, when the decision was made to again concentrate on service.

Frank's was originally located at the island where a war memorial now sits, across the street from its current home. The business moved to its current location at 57 Donner Ave. following a downtown redevelopment.

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

The business now exclusively services all makes of cars, noted Larry Mandarino. It performs everything from basic service to diagnostic service to major engine and transmission work.

"We still maintain a body shop so we can take care of all of your body needs as well," Larry Mandarino said.

In the large showroom windows of Frank's are antique and vintage cars such as a 1970 Barracuda, a 1960s-era Sports Fury, and a 1930s-Plymouth. They are unique conversation pieces, Larry Mandarino said.

"People come in and ask, 'What kind of car is that?' or they remember when they had a car like that," Larry Mandarino said.

Frank's has been serving generations of car owners. Why has it been so successful?

"I think honesty has a lot to do with it and taking care of our customers to the best of our abilities," Larry Mandarino said.

Each of Frank's mechanics are ASE certified.

Larry Mandarino began working at the business as a teen.

"I love helping people out and there is satisfaction in getting the job done, getting the car repaired," Larry Mandarino said.

Although the business has evolved over the years, re-pairing cars has remained a constant, whether it involves new or used vehicles.

"So it's a continuation of what we've always done," Larry Mandarino said.

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