Jose Arredondo was born in a village called Cualcoman, in the Mexican state of Michoacan. He was the fourth of 11 children, he was so poor that he did not receive any toys at Christmas. At 6 years old, Jose picked corn, onions, tomatoes and chilies to help his family survive.
When he was 12, half of the Arredondo family moved to the United States to find work. Arredondo's father, Fidel, and his siblings traveled from Michoacan to Tijuana. They waited for months before they could finally cross into the U.S. Jose and his younger siblings stayed behind.
To have money for food he shined shoes for 10 cents. His customers liked his work and cheerful attitude so much that they would often give him another quarter. 'I learned that by smiling and having a good attitude, you make other people happy.'
Jose and his brothers and sisters tried five times to cross the border before they finally succeeded. They trudged through the desert the entire night to avoid the Border Patrol. 'I was frightened to death to come to a country without knowing the language, but I was hungry for a better life.' Jose is now a U.S. citizen.
Jose attended junior high school in Saugus, and high school in the San Fernando Valley. He dropped out of school to help support his family.
In 1977 he started washing cars at a Mission Hills dealership to help his mother, Maria de Jesus Lopez Arredondo. At 17 he made $325 every two weeks. His attitude was so upbeat that he was given the chance to sell cars on weekends.
During the first month he sold 12 automobiles. He made $4,000 despite the fact that his English was so poor. He spent much of the time gesturing with his hands. After that he became a full-time salesman. 'I remember when they sent me home to put a tie on and I didn't even own one.' He borrowed one from another salesman. Jose decided the best sales approach with customers was to be truthful and polite, instead of pressuring them with sales pitches. This was a part of his personality that came natural. And it worked.
Arredondo saved his money and purchased various properties. He made improvements and then sold them. In 1990 he purchased an auto-body shop and a convenience store in Los Angeles. He stayed there for three years.
His ambitions were high and he yearned to run a big business. In 1993 he heard about a car lot that was losing money at the Auto Mall in Bakersfield. He had never been to Kern County before. He traveled there and inspected the lot. He saw the building and felt very sad. 'I walked into the showroom and I felt there was no spirit.' He didn't do any market or demographic studies. He just went with his gut feeling and bought it.
The 5-acre Family Motors lot now holds 250 to 300 cars. Since 1993 Jose has expanded his dealership group by adding TaftFamily Motors, Family Used Cars, Delano Family Motors, Delano Family Motors Hyundai, Fillmore Family Motors, and Santa Paula Family Motors. He also owns a real estate agency (Family Realty) a golf range (Jose's Golf Range & Pro Shop) plus a state-of-the-art auto, body, and paint shop( Family Motors Auto Body And Paint).
Jose is involved in the community on a daily basis. He travels to the various schools in the county, to talk with the children. He encourages them to stay in school and get an education. He also donates money for scholarships to the local elementary, junior high, high school, college, and university students.
When he is not selling cars or running his business he takes time to visit and feed the farm labor workers. He provides them food, drink, and entertainment. He remembers his past and helps those who are less fortunate.
Jose is the dealer who cares for people.To him, service, dedication,and honesty are not only words... they express his way of doing business. Jose likes to build customer relationships that last for life.