Al Maroone, the founder of a dealership group that later became a cornerstone of AutoNation, passed away at his home in Florida on Wednesday. Al was 98 at the time of his passing.
In his early thirties, Al purchased a small Middleport Ford dealership with money borrowed from his family and turned it into a thriving auto group in Buffalo, NY and South Florida. The Maroone Automotive Group encompassed seven stores that generated $700 million in revenue annually by 1997 with Al and his son Mike Maroone steering the ship.
It was in 1997 that Maroone Automotive Group was acquired by Republic Industries, which would later become AutoNation, in a $200 million-dollar stock deal. At that time, Al stepped back from the business and spent his time on charity work, and he became a part owner in the Florida Panthers NHL team.
Al is remembered by his son as a selfless leader who loved to make others shine. Mike Maroone said, “What he enjoyed most was helping people be successful. He took great pride in the number of people that were developed in his organization that become dealers, general managers and department managers. His long-term view was that people make the difference and everyone wants to be successful. It’s up to us to show them how to do it.”