Road Warrior Newsletter

May 22, 2009


Dear NJGCA Member:


We have all heard the expression “Freedom is not Free” – its a slogan that’s very much a part of our culture, yet, I sometimes wonder if we fully comprehend the meaning of this phrase or the history behind it.

Put simply, we enjoy Freedom today because it was paid for by those who gave their very lives to secure it for us.  These brave souls who died in the service of others were not soldiers looking for glory or warriors seeking fame.  Rather they were ordinary men and women who fought for something larger than themselves.

Today, despite our current economic struggles or our political divisions, America is still a shining example for the world to emulate.  As such, it is befitting that we pause once a year on Memorial Day to honor those fallen heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

So this holiday weekend, while you’re at a neighborhood cook out or getting ready to drive down the shore, please pause and give thanks to the noble men and women who made the liberties you enjoy possible.  It is a small gesture, certainly – but they deserve nothing less.

Yesterday in Trenton, your Association accomplished something so remarkable; it has left many stunned. 

What am I talking about?  After many months of adversity, NJGCA and our allies were successful in beating back Big Oil to get A-3726/S-2553 – our First Right of Refusal legislation – passed in Trenton!!

A very sincere THANK YOU to Ebbie Ashabi, the Exxon and Shell Lessee Dealers, and all NJGCA Members who participated in helping us get this crucial piece of legislation passed!

Our success yesterday was a long time coming. Last fall, NJGCA learned that Exxon was seeking to divest their retail assets in New Jersey.  Later we would also learn that Shell, Sunoco, and Lukoil were also looking to sell-off their assets.  Little noticed by these mega-corporations were the franchisees who currently operated those locations.  These small business lessees, many of whom took under-performing locations and built viable businesses, were about to have the rug pulled out from under them.

It was at that time that I called a meeting with these station owners.  I knew from previous instances how badly these business owners were beaten up post-divestiture.  Many had no choice but to turn their keys and take overwhelming losses on their investments.  I wanted to prevent this from happening again and asked these dealers to fight back.  Together, we battled to protect these franchisees through both legal and legislative means.

Along the way, we overcame every obstacle Big Oil and their allies threw in our direction.  No matter if it was misleading Legislators or flat our lying about our intentions, we persevered to see the bill passed in both houses of the Legislature yesterday.

Still, we have one final task before our proposal becomes law: We must convince Governor Corzine to sign this bill as soon as possible!

We sent out a Wildfire Alert with details on how to contact the Governor.  You can read it by clicking HERE

We know we are in a race against time before Big Oil finalizes their sell off!!  Please call the Governor at 609-292-6000 and ask him to SIGN A-3726/S-2553!  You can also email the Governor directly at:

Please take a moment to also read our Press Release on First Right of Refusal by clicking HERE

This victory hinged on the fact that we had people who ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED in seeing this bill passed.  I know it wasn’t easy to get away from your business, but you made it happen.  We will need an equal effort if the rest of our agenda is to succeed in Trenton.  Be ready!

Last week, I told you that we had learned MVC was trying to get service stations to pay the full price upfront for their new PIF equipment.  We also heard that it could be as much as six months to obtain delivery.  This is simply not acceptable.

This week I can report that I have spoken not only to Legislators regarding this issue, but also with Sharon Harrington, the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.  She is now fully aware of how utterly unacceptable this situation is to our members and we hope to find a solution shortly.
Please rest assured that we will update you as new information becomes available.  Stay tuned!!

Lastly, I briefly appeared on the CBS News last Friday evening regarding the mass-closure of Chrysler dealers and why we need Right to Repair laws enacted.  You can see the video by clicking HERE

As these dealerships close, many former customers may find it difficult to get their vehicles properly serviced.  This presents both an opportunity for you to service these motorists and underscores the need to access important repair information.  Please be prepared to take action on Right to Repair in the coming weeks!

Thanks for listening - See you next week!

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director


•BUSINESS FOR SALE: Are you interested in expanding your business?
•HELP WANTED: Could you fill this position?

•Take your inspector Refresher Course with NJGCA!

BUSINESS TOOLS: Firesigns 1075
Does your street sign attract customers?  Get curbside appeal with Firesigns!

•From NJGCA's effort to get First Right of Refusal passed in the Assembly


•Take advantage of this program and get recognized for your "green" credentials!

•NJ ranked as the most hostile state toward motorists
NJGCA in the News: Risalvato talks gas prices, commodity traders
•Budget Watch: Property-tax rebates cancelled this year
•MVC Offices close for furloughs


Check out all of our MBPs and Programs designed to SAVE YOU MONEY!

Looking for something? Take a look at our list of useful links!

Find all our communications and search for old e-newsletters. Take a look!

Need to catch up on events?  Want to see what's going on?  Find out here!



Emily Bielen, owner of John’s American Service Center, is selling her small business. 

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION:  A corner service station; has been owned and operated by the same proprietor since 1956.  The owner is retiring and seeks interested parties.  The station has two bays with lifts and an office.  Currently the station performs full service automotive repairs and tire sales.  Gas pumps and tanks were completely upgraded to EPA guidelines in 1994, including double-wall fiberglass tanks and lines. 

Property also includes a 3-family, fully rented apartment building.  A two-car garage and a three-car garage are also included on the property; either can be used for additional storage or rental.

All buildings and garages will be included in the sale.

PROPERTY LOCATION: The station is a corner lot located at the intersection of 16th Street & Grove Street in Irvington, conveniently situated one block up from Garden State Parkway Exit 144.

For full location details and to view this classified ad, please click HERE

Interested parties are to contact Emily Bielen at 732-388-9291.

If you are interested in placing a classified ad, please contact Debbie Hill.


Somerset based Shell Station seeks a proefessional and reliable Front Office Manager with excellent communications skills. Must be well organized and able to multi-task and delegate work as required.  We are a family owned auto repair and car rental business, operating since 1946.

Interested parties: Please contact Frank Resta at 732-887-7773 for further information and to arrange an interview.



The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has recently sent out a VID message to all Private Inspection Stations in state. 

All currently licensed Inspectors must complete an Inspector refresher course and pass a general knowledge exam with a grade of 80% or better to remain in the program.  If any test-take answers 11 questions wrong, they will automatically fail.  A hands-on test for licensed Inspectors will not be required.

Inspectors will have until December 31, 2009 to take and pass the test.

NJGCA will be offering a refresher course sometime in the near future at two locations:

NJGCA Headquarters
66 Morris Ave.
Springfield, NJ 07081

NJGCA at Precision Auto Repair
1264 Hwy 35 South
Middletown, NJ 07748

If any PIFs are interested, please call our office to be put on the list.  All dates, times, and details will be released shortly.
Please call Debbie Hill at 973-376-0066 with any questions or concerns.

BUSINESS TOOLS: Firesigns 1075

Does your street sign attract customers? Are you tired of climbing a ladder to change your prices? Would you like to display a modern look?  Firesigns 1075, a full service technology company with over 40 years of experience, provides Programmable LED Signs visible from a greater distance while simplifying the price changing process.

Firesigns 1075 has its own metal fabrication shop, and maintains a direct partnership with the manufacturer to provide exceptionally high quality signs at the lowest prices.  We maintain all the signs we create.

Firesigns 1075 also provides Indoor LED signs at a fraction of the cost of other competitors. You will be able to change the messages as frequent as you need to advertise your special of the day.  Discounts apply to all NJGCA members purchasing equipment from Firesigns 1075.

Visit our website to learn more about our offerings or call 302-378-1955. Ask for Bob or Geralyn to get you started on “Enlightening” your business and your bottom line.


You can also contact Phil Apruzzi with any further questions at 973-376-0066 x209.


NJGCA is participating in the NJ Green Automotive Repair Council along with AAA-NJ, the NJ Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJCAR), and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.  
The council's mission is to encourage NJ automotive repair facilities to adopt environmentally responsible business practices. 

Through a certification program for dealership and independent automotive repair facilities, the council will also establish “green” repair standards.  Those who are reviewed and qualify will receive certification.  Stickers will also be given to those facilities to illustrate their participation in the program.

If you would like to participate in the program and fill out an application, please contact Debbie Hill at 973-376-0066.  An application fee and annual review fee are applicable.  

More facts about the program are available

NJ ranked as the most hostile state toward motorists
In preparation for the Memorial Day weekend, a study conducted by the National Motorists Association has determined that the Garden State treats divers the harshest.  The list was complied utilizing factors such as speed traps, court proceedings and outdated laws.

NJGCA in the News: Risalvato talks gas prices, commodity traders
NJGCA Executive Director Sal Risalvato recently spoke with the Asbury Park Press regarding the rise in the price of gasoline, how commodity traders are influencing the market, and the affects on consumers and station owners.  Click above to read Sal’s remarks.

Budget Watch: Property-tax rebates cancelled this year
NJ State Treasurer David Rousseau has stated that property-tax rebates would be eliminated this year due to a mounting budget shortfall and a struggling economy.  According to the Treasurer’s report, only senior citizens will qualify for a rebate.  In additional, income taxes will rise for those residents earning between $400,000 to $500,000.

MVC offices close for furloughs
Many residents were recently dismayed to learn that a number of MVC offices were closed during normal business hours due to the mandatory state-worker furlough.  The furloughs were designed to trim costs and help balance the state budget as statewide revenues continue to fall.  Thirteen additional furlough days are planned throughout the year.

Serving the small businesses that serve the motorist