FLORENCE - Nick Monaco started his auto sales and consignment business from scratch in 2011.
He began by selling vehicles out of another business, then moved to a shed, and now Florence Auto Mall has a Highway 93 storefront and car lot.
“We started from zero,” said Monaco. “Make your hobby your work, right? I was dabbling with a car sale here and there, and I decided to do it full-time. Cars are kind of a hobby. I’m not mechanically inclined, but I do like cars. You’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize, right? I like big road cars, Cadillacs and things like that.”
Monaco believes it is essential to have a vested interest.
“I think it feels best when you work for it – that’s something my folks instilled in me,” said Monaco. “Growing up, I always had to have some skin in the game. Every car I had or anything I wanted, materialistically, I always had to have some skin in the game.”
Monaco said he always had an entrepreneurial spirit and that the downturn in the economy spurred on his independence. He works for himself and works more hours, at times that are convenient for his customers.
“I’m here when I need to be,” he said. “If folks can’t meet until 7 or 8 o’clock at night, I’ll stay. It makes sense. Work smarter not harder – I’m not sitting here all day staring out the window, but if I have productive work to do I’ll be here.
“My dad has been in the car business for 30 years. It’s amazing how we follow in the footsteps of our folks.”
Monaco says he lives by the saying ‘It is what it is’ and a poem about success given to him by his mother: “Success: You can use most any measure when you’re speaking of success. You can measure it in a fancy home, expensive car or dress. But the measure of your real success is the one you cannot spend – it’s the way your kids describe you when they’re talking to a friend.”
He is the sole employee of Florence Auto Mall, which is buy, sell, trade, order, custom buy or consignment. “Bring your ‘fam’ to FAM!” is their slogan and they keep an inventory of 15–20 vehicles: cars, trucks, campers and “anything with a title.”
“The vice president tries to stay away from the office,” said Monaco, referring to his wife. “Another key to success is family support. Family support has been a big factor for me. It has been important to have the support of both my immediate family and my extended family – my parents, Kurt and Robin, and my two brothers, Nate and Tyler.”
Nick Monaco is very active in the Bitterroot Valley community as well. He's a reserve sheriff's deputy, an ambulance driver, an EMT, a basketball official, a husband, a dad, an assistant Little League coach, an auto dealer and - until recently - a volunteer fireman for Florence.
He said he had had too many things on his plate and had to prioritize his time and focus his energies on his family.
“[Being a firefighter] is a life commitment and I needed to make a lifestyle change – my kids are in sports now,” said Monaco. “I really miss calls, but it is important to find a balance. This has made me able to make more of a commitment to the things I want to commit to.”