By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Tracy Ford continues 40-year tradition
T-FordDSC 7801a
Tracy Ford is part of a 40-year tradition of providing the Central Valley with top-notch service as well as sales. - photo by GLENN KAHL
TRACY —  Tracy Ford is now open for business taking over the dealership where Stan Morri and his sales and service staff offered the Ford product to residents of the Central Valley for over 40 years.

The new dealership owners, father and son Tom and Brian Nokes, added the Ford Tracy Auto Mall property to their list of other dealerships in a smooth transition that didn’t see the front door close for even a minute during the change of hands.

Originally from the Bay Area,  the Nokes team claims ownership in the Hyundai, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealerships also located in the Tracy Auto Mall as well as dealerships in the Antioch Auto Center.  The Nokes are both on site in their sales operations every day of the week.  

The Nokes’ group has been selling cars for three generations and first came to Tracy two years ago when they bought the other Tracy dealerships in 2008 – a time when the new-car market had neared the bottom of the spectrum.

The purchase of the Tracy Ford dealership reflects his perception, Nokes said, that Tracy’s fortunes are on the upswing.  “A lot of retailers – including ourselves – think Tracy is on the verge of turning around,” he noted.

The Ford dealership owner said that expanding his business makes sense because of the city’s status as a commuter center.  Nearly two-thirds of Tracy’s workforce travels outside the city to work, according to city statistics – living locally because of the increasing affordability of homes, he said.  Manteca commuters also travel through the Tracy area on their way to and from Bay Area jobs.

Morri, 83, is currently a member of the San Joaquin County Planning Commission and is said to be Tracy’s longest tenured new car dealer.  He had moved his dealership from the downtown 11th and B streets location some 10 years ago into its present auto mall site near the Tracy Mall.

As for Nokes, he said, “We’re pretty confident in what we do.  Our success has always been in taking care of our customers.”

General Manager Ray Malgradi is no newcomer to the new car market as well cutting his teeth on a dealership when he was only eight years old – sweeping up the lot of a family-owned operation.

Malgradi’s family boasts of third generations in car sales remembering that his grandfather,  also named Ray Malgradi, played as a pitcher in the Pacific Coast League in his younger days.  When he retired he started selling cars with San Leandro Chrysler Plymouth, originally Peabody Chrysler Plymouth.  Ray said he and his grandfather were always very close.  

“I can remember cutting English class at Castro Valley High School with Miss Little to go sell a car,” he said.  I sold 12 cars a month in high school making more than $2,000 a month.”

Ray said his sales staff today is made up of 12 professionals with many of the Stan Morri staff moving over to be part of the Nokes’ team.    “Project 100” is the name of the game at Tracy Ford, he said, where 100 percent satisfaction is the creed of the operation.

With the Tracy West Valley Mall across from the dealership, the Ford manager said his shuttle service is available to take shoppers over to the mall while their car is being serviced.  He added that the service staff is also available to pick up a customer’s vehicle from their home when it needs to go to the dealership for maintenance.

Carl Covington is one of the former Morri sales team members to join Nokes.  Covington said he left the food distribution industry more than 10 years ago and fell into a new adventure in automotive sales.  

“We are carrying on the next generation of setting the standard in selling,” Covington said.   “Be honest and up front, offering quality products of full value is most important,” he feels from within.

Being a salesman “is the most honorable title you can have,” he noted.  

“Don’t ever say you are JUST a salesman,” he has told younger staffers.  “Sales is the life blood of commerce – sell from the heart, it’s the only way to be.”