This is our story…
Our company history dates way back to 1924 when John’s father, Rocco, and his wife Emmanuella bought a Gulf service station in Concord NH. The purchase of this service station was to supplement the family income from his job at a local granite quarry. At the time, Concord had become a city of tradition and heritage. As the seat of the state government, Concord was not only a center of political activity, but a place of opportunity where residents could lay down the foundation for generations to come. In the 1920’s, automobiles were becoming a way of life for residents in New Hampshire. With the introduction of the first moving automobile assembly line in 1913, Rocco and Emmanuella were on the right track in deciding to take on automobile retail. It is clear that selling gas and oil to the motoring public was not enough for Rocco Grappone. This brings us to 1925, and this is a very important day for us in that it marks the time when we began our automobile sales journey with the offering of Oldsmobile and then Pontiac in 1929.
In 1939, Rocco takes on Desoto and Plymouth franchises, adding to their two existing businesses; the Gulf service station and Pontiac. By the time that the United States joined the fight in 1941, much of the nation’s industrial efforts had been put into service for the war effort. Materials like rubber were in short supply. New tires for family automobiles became harder and harder to find. Once again, the Grappone family seized the opportunity. Establishing a tire retread business, they were able to offer the motoring public affordable tires for their family cars. During that time, the Grappone Family also emphasized the sale of used cars.
in 1948, the Grappone family was able to obtain the John Deere farm and industrial equipment franchise. This was another marker for success for the Grappone family and they were able to offer products to the expanding construction industry in New Hampshire. In 1955, the Grappone Family gave up the Gulf service station that started their journey to put more emphasis on the sale of automobiles.
The next milestone for the Grappone family was reached in 1958. For the previous 10 years, they had seen their business flourish. They had watched Eisenhower become president, the Russians launch Sputnik, and much more. Thirty four years after founding Grappone Automotive, Rocco stepped down and turned the business over to his sons, one of whom was John. A few changes were made soon after including the sale of the Pontiac of Nashua dealership and the acquisition of the Ford franchise. Grappone also acquired an AMC/Jeep dealership in that time as well. Showing the same keen business sense as his parents had, John then acquired A Toyota franchise, followed by Subaru. By 1975, just fifty years after Rocco Grappone obtained the family’s first automobile franchise, John had also added the Mazda and Honda franchise. In 1980, a reorganization of business holdings within the family resulted in a move for the AMC/Jeep and Pontiac franchises. The remainder of the dealerships remained under John’s control. In 1982, the Ford Heavy Truck franchise was added to John’s family holdings. Planning also began to relocate many of the dealerships to what we now call the Grappone Auto Junction, located at the intersection of interstates 89 AND 93. The last franchise John Grappone was to purchase under his watch was a Suzuki dealership in 1989. One year later, John passed the torch onto a new generation of Grappones, Allen and Bob.
In the early 1990’s, the way that Americans bought cars began to change. With technological advances such as the internet, and specialty magazines, consumers no longer expected to negotiate as they had in the past. In response to this new buying trend, the Saturn was introduced with a fixed, non-negotiable price along with a new approach to sales and service. (This philosophy would later come back under fourth generation ownership). In 1991 Bob purchased the Saturn franchise in Concord and then opened Saturn of Nashua in 1993. In the tradition of his father and grandfather, Bob Grappone led a period of expansion as well. In 1995, Grappone Volkswagen and Grappone Hyundai were purchased and in 1997, Autosure was established to market used cars in NH. During the period from 1994-2004, renovations to Grappone Ford and Grappone Toyota were completed, and during that same time period, fourth generation family members Amanda and Greg, became involved in the day to day operations of the company.
As Grappone Automotive enters its tenth decade under the watch of the fourth generation, their mission statement guides daily decision making. The mission of Grappone Automotive is dedication to building lifelong relationships by serving our team members, guests and community with integrity, kindness and respect.
For Amanda Grappone Osmer, great-granddaughter of founders Rocco and Emmanuella Grappone, team members come first. “Every decision we make, every policy we write and rewrite, the schedules we set, all of these things are done with our team and their families in mind.”
At Grappone we know that if we create and maintain a safe and happy work environment, then our team will provide an exceptional experience for our guests. In turn, our success will continue to benefit our community, as it has since 1924. We are energized by the prospect of what the future brings.