|The Boy with a Dream
It all started as a young kid from Everett taking apart my bikes, painting and putting them back together. At 16 years-old before I even got my driver’s license, I purchased my first car; a 1969 Caddy 4-door sedan with wide gangster white walls and chromed spoke rims. It needed some bodywork and a paint job but I knew from all those years of experience with my bikes that I was up for the challenge. That is when it became clear to me where my future was headed.
In May of 1979 I graduated Pope John XXIII High School focusing mostly on Business Management. I owe a lot of credit to Pope John; they had great teachers, all that inspired me in some way shape or form, but three of which stuck out the most in my mind were Sister Peggy, Sister Lorraine and Sister Nancy. They all watched me go through a struggle in my life losing my mother at the age of nine and being brought up by a single dad; but they never allowed me to fail, always going out of their way to help me out. Sister Peggy was like the mother I lost from above and she did everything she could to help guide me in the right direction. To this day, I am extremely close to them all and visit on a monthly basis.
After graduation in 1979, I went to Rhode Island Trade Shop School in Providence. Every single day for nine months I drove from Mass. to Rhode Island, all while holding down 1-2 part time jobs in between. The days were extremely long and hard. In October of 1979, I decided to set up a business before I graduated. I rented a building in Chelsea and repaired cars on the weekends. My dream was now becoming a reality with the sole purpose of making my parents proud.
In the summer of 1980, I found a shop in Malden thanks to my good friends Mike Tamagna and Paul DiPietro of Tamanga DiPietro Electrical. They rented a building from Sam DeMarco on Maplewood Street and they asked Sam if he would like to rent space to me. Sam worked on the building for five months turning it into a three-bay garage just for me. At that time I felt like I was on top of the world. I was there for around five years and after expanding the shop twice, I knew a bigger space was needed and decided to move on. I found a 10 bay shop that I rented on Franklin Street in Malden. I stayed at that location for six years until the building was sold. The sale was devastating as I had very little time to find another location. My best friend, John MacMillan, a mechanic who worked with me on Franklin Street decided to approach another local businessman,
Donald Adelman, owner of Commonwealth Lumbar at 388 Eastern Ave in Malden and together we negotiated a lease. It was basically an empty shed but being under the gun to find a new location quickly, we decided to take a risk. We started from scratch 60 days and 60 nights while running the regular business. With the help of many close friends donating their time we built an incredible 18-bay shop with all new offices and all new equipment. In 60 days we conquered our dreams.
In 1999, I was approached by Joe Laham, the owner of North Shore Motors dealership on Broadway. Joe told me he heard that I was a good businessman in Malden and he offered me an opportunity to lease his body shop. At that time his shop was the biggest in Malden at 8900 sq. ft. with 25 bays, 2 spray booths and 3 frame machines. This was a great opportunity and my big chance to be on Broadway in Malden, but the timing couldn’t be worse as I was literally getting on a plane and leaving for vacation. He needed an answer right away and I told him I would call him from my vacation in three days with an answer. After the three days were up, I called Joe and told him I would take it. The lease was for five years with a five-year renewal option. Needless to say, I did not sleep the rest of my vacation. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
When I came back from vacation I took on another two month project setting up the shop on Broadway. This time I had the master help me, Jerry Bartolo, my father. I told him I would get him some help and he had the place cleaned up and painted. I brought in my good friends Tamagna and DiPietro Electrical to wire the new shop for equipment and offices. I was now the largest shop in Malden. I had approximately eight guys on the floor, two office staff and myself. I would look through my office glass window above one end of the shop and think how proud I was of how far I had come. Eleven years later, the dealership had changed hands three times and was not doing well. I decided it was time to start over. I told myself enough is enough it’s time to buy my own building.
During my years in business I became very involved with the civic community in Malden. I became a member of the Malden Kiwanis Club, served on the Board of Directors for 10 years in the Malden Chamber of Commerce as well as serving as Vice President and then President. I am very proud to be part of sponsoring and donating to a room dedicated to the Hallmark Health Cancer Center in Stoneham along with the Malden Chamber of Commerce. Therefore, it was extremely important that my business stayed in Malden as it had become Tony’s Auto Body LLC’s home. I looked for many months and finally came across a 5,000 square foot building on Sharon Street off of Eastern Ave. It was a warehouse building but I was once again determined. I worked extremely hard to get all my licensing and permits. Thanks to being a good business man with a good reputation in Malden for many years I got a lot of support from the Planning Board and my lawyer, Atty. Christopher Fallon.
I started the process in November of 2007 and passed papers on my building in February of 2008. Now the real work would once again begin with the set up. It was a complete gut out with engineering putting on an addition for spray booths and an office and then transferring all my equipment to my new building while never skipping a beat. May 19th of 2008 it happened, the grand opening.
On October 3rd 2018, I will be in business 40 years. I am now 57-years-old and I fulfilled my dream knowing my parents are looking down at me and are very proud of me and what I have accomplished in my life.
I want to thank the City of Malden for letting me serve their great community. I am looking forward to many more years to come serving in this great city.
To close in this story, I would have to say always treat every customer the way you would want to be treated and remember my favorite words is “to believe and never stop dreaming of what you want in life”.
This story is dedicated to my mother and father Rose and Jerry Bartolo. Thank you for always believing in me and guiding me through life. A special thanks to all my loyal customers and hard working and faithful employees that without them I would not be celebrating this great achievement. I want to thank Sam Demarco for giving me my first break and start in Malden. I want to thank all my friends who helped me thru out the years with the renovations of my shops, to mention a few Eddy Convey, Moose Gennette, Sam Marinelli and Pat Todisco from Todisco Towing for moving all of my equipment to my new shop. I would also like to thank some of my accounts for supporting me throughout the years. To name a few, City of Malden , Malden Police, Malden Fire Department, Town of Lynnfield Police Department, Lynnfield DPW, Massachusetts State Police, K&J Integrated Systems, BCD Metals Inc., Yankee Pest Control, Tamagna & DiPietro Electrical, The Electricians Inc, Alpine Landscape Construction Co., L&L Trucking Co, Marchese & Sons Construction Co. Insurance agencies such as Paul T. Murphy Ins. Agency, Supino Insurance, Danca Ins., and Lucy Insurance.