Matt Phines was only in fourth grade when he sold his first car. Now he's bringing a fourth Dealers Choice used car lot to Porterville. His father started the original car lot in Visalia in 1983, but since then that business was sold and his father has retired.
“We’ve been wanting to expand but I only expand when I have managers close to home,” said Phines, an officer with Dealers Choice. “Our other lots are in Farmersville, since 1997, Lindsay, Morro Bay and now Porterville.”
The corporation’s Department of Motor Vehicles license to operate arrived towards the end of May, but Phines said he decided it was best to stack the vehicles at their other sites, let people enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, and have the vehicles arrive at the new location on Tuesday.
“We are bringing in 30 to 40 car choices — everything from SUV’s, vans and trucks to economy and hybrid cars and a couple of electric cars,” Phines said.
In addition, there's are a few motorcycles and an approximate 48-foot trailer available for sale.
“Porterville had a lot of (used car lot) choices and they seem to have dwindled away. I thought this would be a good time to come to Porterville,” Phines said.
Everything seemed to fall into place, Phines said, calling the opportunity a blessing.
“The time was right, this place was open and for sale, the new manager is from this area,” Phines said. “I like to be in small communities to make a big impact. I like to do things with the local Police and local high schools. Kids growing up will be future customers.”
Phines also said he really tries to help all customers across the board.
“We don’t just help bad or good customers, it’s everyone,” Phines said. “Vehicles range from inexpensive to very nice.”
And after remodeling and painting the building, and recapping the asphalt, Phines welcomed the arrival of vehicles Tuesday morning.
“I really hope this helps revitalize this part of town,” Phines said. “Today we get the cars settled in and meet with the new sales staff.”
The Porterville crew will consist of Manager Raveen Punian of Springville, who comes to the corporation with a lot of experience, Phines said. Sid Covian of Porterville, and Seth Matthysse from Paso Robles rounds out the staff. Phines’ wife, Julie Phines will handle the DMV business.
“We are a true family-run business,” Matt Phines said. “We specialize in first-time buyer program and guaranteed-credit program.”
In addition, they also have a direct lending Credit Union program.
“Our interest rates start at 2.49 percent,” Phines said. “Over the years, people have been coming to us. I want to thank Porterville for coming to us in Lindsay and Farmersville. Now, we are coming to them.”
The lot is located at 70 S. Main Street and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. They will be closed on Sundays.