Longtime Sacramento-area auto dealer Chuck Peterson has been named Dealer of the Year by the Greater Sacramento New Car Dealers Association.
Peterson’s local presence dates back a quarter century, but younger residents likely know him from his amiable television commercials and high-profile support of the Sacramento Kings.
Born in Salt Lake City in 1946, Peterson once told The Sacramento Bee that his retail savvy was learned early from his parents, both of whom worked for Sprouse-Reitz Stores Inc. He ultimately made the jump to motor vehicles in 1972, shortly after obtaining a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.
In 1978, Peterson bought 20 percent of (Bob) Swanson Ford in Los Gatos, where he would spend the next 10 years as general manager. In Los Gatos he obtained a measure of public recognition – becoming a local celebrity of sorts because of his numerous appearances in radio advertisements for the Swanson dealership.
By 1988, Peterson was looking for a chance to run his own operation. He found it at Greenback Lane and Madison Avenue in Folsom, acquiring the former Bennett Ford franchise and renaming it Folsom Lake Ford. That was the beginning of a extended run of success in the Sacramento area – his car-selling empire reportedly employing more than 600 and topping $500 million in annual sales at its zenith.
In recent years, Peterson sold off most of his operations but has remained active with both Folsom Lake Ford and Folsom Lake Kia.
Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.