Dealers Choice makes a wish on 40 years of success

Dealers Choice celebrates 40 years of selling used cars, donates $40 from each car sold in the month of April to Make-A-Wish Foundation who is also celebrating 40 years

VISALIA – Despite bad chatter surrounding increased interest rates and stolen catalytic converters for used cars, Dealer’s Choice is celebrating their 40th anniversary by bringing positivity to the community.

Dealers Choice, a used car dealership throughout the Valley, is inviting the Central Valley to celebrate their 40 year anniversary alongside Make-A-Wish Foundation. Throughout the month of April, Dealers Choice will be donating $40 from each car sold to the Make-A-Wish foundation. This year also happens to be the Make-A-Wish foundation’s 40th anniversary as well. Officer of the Dealers Choice corporation Matt Phines said he thought joining forces with a worthy cause within their same anniversary year would be a great way to celebrate.

Photo by Kenny Goodman

“My brother had leukemia as a child and we went on a wish trip, and I thought it was a really cool organization,” Phines said. “So I thought that that would be a good way to tie it in, [with it being] the 40 year anniversary for both of us, I thought it was a nice little combination.”

Dealers Choice is a family run business that began in 1983 in Visalia by Phines’s father. A few years after they opened the business, 11-year-old Phines sold his first car and the rest is history. In 1997 the company made a move to Farmersville in one location for three years and another for twenty three. In 2000, Dealers Choice moved to the Farmersville location they are currently in, and there they have stayed. His father has since retired but his daughter is continuing the legacy.

“My daughter is now a manager and she runs our Lindsay location,” Phines said. “So she has followed in the family’s footsteps.”

Throughout the past 40 years, the company has grown to have five locations throughout California. Four are in the Valley – Farmersville, Lindsay, Porterville Visalia – and one in Atascadero.

“We’ve been growing over the last five or six years,” Phines said. “Every couple of years, we’ve been [opening up] another location.”

Customers will have the opportunity to donate more than $40 if they choose to Make-A-Wish. The company will also be selling stars for Make-A-Wish donations. Additionally Phines said the celebration of their anniversary does not stop at the end of April, they will have anniversary sales happening throughout the year.

Photo by Kenny Goodman

The hope behind the anniversary donation is not only to get the community involved, but also show that despite the bad publicity used car dealerships have been receiving, there is no reason to avoid them. Phines said yes of course catalytic converters are an issue, and they are dealing with it the best they can.

“You’re always hearing all these bad stories about how hard it is to find inventory and it is hard, and the catalytic converter theft is a big, big problem for us, normally to the tune of about $10,000 a month,” Phines said. “And we just thought it’d be nice to hear a good story for a change.”

However, with that significant of a loss, an increased police presence has helped in the areas where they are located. He does not want these issues to deter anyone from joining in celebration of their anniversary.

“The good news is we’re in a lot of small towns and most of our police departments are pretty good about trying to up security and, you know, kind of do a little more drive-bys,” Phines said. “And with police presence, we definitely see the decline in theft.”

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