By Marie Gilmore

When 33 year-old entrepreneur Ralph C. Ghioto Jr. moved to Tampa from Jacksonville in 1969 with his young family in tow, he was already a successful business man. But, taking on the Buick dealership across from the old stadium on Dale Mabry Hwy. and changing its name to Century Buick was one of the best decisions he ever made.

Now, 77, Ghioto still comes to work every day with the same smile, the same attention to detail and with some of the same employees that he met in 1969, the day he bought the business. In fact, up in the administration department, Ms. Carmen Robles was just 24 when Ghioto took over the dealership and 40+ years later, she still loves coming to work.

“It has always been a pleasure to come to work every day,” describes Robles. “It all starts from the ownership and the involvement with the dealership.

Today, the day-to-day business is run in partnership with Ghioto and his son,  Ralph C. Ghioto, III, who helped build the new, state-of-the-art, customer-centered dealership located in a renovated movie theatre complex on Hillsborough Ave.

The new Century Buick GMC was built by Suncoast AutoBuilders who used the facility as its showcase model for its 20th anniversary celebration. It its description of the project, it describes the conversion of a former movie theatre complex into a 56,750 sq. ft. sales and service facility on 5.13 acres. The service department offers 29 service bays including an alignment bay and a heavy/large truck lift plus five detail bays.

The end result is that Ghioto, III and team are able to think about the customer experience at every step. From walking into the dealership as a customer or a buyer right onto the Century Buick GMC main street where customers can drop off vehicles of any make or model and enjoy complimentary fresh brewed coffee and latte, Wi-Fi with work stations, kids center and fitness facility with showers, and a barbershop, nail and hair salon, 14-seat movie theatre with daily features showing at 9 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m.

The dealership is located less than 30 minutes from Brandon at 3308 W. Hillsborough Ave. Current offers include its signature $9.95 oil change. Call 872-7746 or visit


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Marie Gilmore
Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!