Anthony (Tony) A. Martino – HALL OF FAME AWARD WINNER
Anthony (Tony) A. Martino (1933-2008)
Founder and CEO
The late Anthony A. Martino made extensive contributions in promoting and advancing the franchise industry. With a $3,000 loan from his parents, AAMCO Transmissions (an acronym of Martino’s initials), was born. During its first year, the company generated a net profit five times greater than that of the average general repair shop.
Martino began his career in 1959 with a simple shop specializing in automatic transmission repair and grew the business through franchising throughout the 1960s before selling it and turning his automotive knowledge and business insights to another automotive venture, MAACO. When he opened a pilot MAACO Auto Painting & Bodyworks center in 1972, he positioned the brand between low-cost auto painters of lesser quality and expensive dealership work.
The company rapidly grew into the MAACO of today, one that repairs accident damage, dents and faded paint for nearly 500,000 drivers annually. In 1982, Martino spotted yet another gap in the marketplace and established Sparks Tune-Up Centers to supply the service need created when hundreds of auto dealerships closed and thousands of service stations converted to self-service operations. Within five years, the chain grew to more than 150 centers throughout the United States.
A past recipient of the IFA’s Entrepreneur of the Year award, Martino’s business interests extended beyond automobiles. He founded the prominent Goddard School for Early Childhood Development in 1988, and established it as a leader in quality childcare before selling it in 2002.
Martino, a modest man not given to self-glorification, described himself in an interview with Franchising World in 1991, as “awfully lucky.” But his business sense and “luck” were matched by a strong work ethic ingrained by his parents.
“When I was growing up, we all thought work was a good thing,” Martino said. “It wasn’t really important how much money you made; just having a job was a great thing. Even the kids who didn’t have regular jobs made money by doing odd jobs such as painting neighbors’ houses, collecting papers on trash day and hauling things to the junkyard. Having that kind of childhood is a real asset in starting a business.”
Martino passed away in January 2008.