Gary Barbera was born and raised in the “Great Northeast” section of Philadelphia. He was the youngest of 4 children. Considers himself to be the luckiest “kid” to have been blessed with wonderful beloved parents Rita and Eugene.
Gary was ambitious and confidently knew he wanted to be a car dealer as a young child. He used to watch his neighbor Mr. Kutner come home and pull in his driveway in a new Buick every evening. He would work summers at Mr. Kutner’s lot using elbow grease to clean up the lot and wash the cars.
After graduating from Archbishop Ryan High School he immediately began his automotive career as a salesperson at age 18 at Kutner Buick. To get in the door as a salesperson Gary told Mr. Kutner that if he wasn’t the top salesperson at the end of the month HE would pay Mr. Kutner for his time. Gary quickly broke sales record after another. Needless to say Gary never had to pay Mr. Kutner.
A year later Gary was promoted to Used Car Manager and was given his own used car lot to manage. At 21 years of age Gary was relocated by Mr. Kutner to California to become Vice – President and General Manager of a dealership that had undergone bankruptcy. With barely a budget and all odds stacked against him Gary accepted the challenge and in no time King Buick of California was a huge success. He saved all of his money and lived modestly so he could begin the pursuit of his own automobile franchise.
3 months before his 23 rd birthday Gary received his final approval from Chrysler to become a Dodge dealer, the youngest new car dealer in the country!
It was not an easy upstart. In a five-year span there had been 4 previous owners of this particular Dodge dealership, all unsuccessful. Gary had to start at the bottom but he was determined to optimize his shot.
Gene Barbera, Gary’s oldest brother sold his business, The Last Detail, a vehicle detail center who catered to many local celebrities such as Philadelphia Eagles and was known for using q-tips to perfect the car’s detail, to join Gary. With Gene by his brother’s side Gary Barbera’s Dodgeland opened June 21, 1989. Proudly located at 6719 Ridge Avenue in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. Vistion Barbera’s in “Beautiful” Roxborough became the anthem and Is Barbera the Best? Boy I Guess the brand’s famous mantra.