GARY | In 1921, William A. Pozzo Sr., who raced with the Fiat Team at the Indianapolis 500, opened his own business.
Founded as William A. Pozzo Inc., the name was changed to Pozzo Mack Sales and Service, and then to Pozzo Truck Center Inc. reflecting the added sales of Volvo trucks, Pozzo’s granddaughter Linda Salmon said.
Pozzo Truck Center is now owned by Salmon and her husband Judson Salmon.
Prior to starting the company, Pozzo, an Italian immigrant, worked for Mack Truck at its Gary factory branch. When Mack Truck decided to close the facility, Pozzo convinced them to allow him to operate it as a distributor.
“At that point, it became Mack Truck’s distributor, making Pozzo Truck Center the oldest Mack dealer in the world,” Salmon said.
Pozzo sold bonds to finance the company’s first building at 1100 Madison St., where he sold Mack and Studebaker trucks. As it grew, the company also changed location to its current site at 3001 E. 15th Place. In 1986, an Illinois location was added at 94 E. Sauk Trail South in South Chicago Heights.
Salmon, who is the third-generation company owner, said her grandfather was proud of the success of his family-run business.
“His business philosophy mirrored his life philosophy -– treat everyone fair and honest and you will have success,” Salmon said. “Also, if you watch the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.”
Salmon said her father Manuel Santos became company president when her grandfather died in 1974. Pozzo’s son William A. Pozzo Jr., became vice president and Eleanore Santos secretary-treasurer. Manuel Santos retired in 1984 and his wife succeeded him as president, Salmon said. Eleanore Santos retired in 1992 leaving her daughter and son-in-law to run the business.
Pozzo Truck Center, which sells heavy duty, Mack Volvo and Mitsubishi Fuso trucks and offers parts and service, has twice been named the Central Region Distributor of the Year and received various truck and parts awards, Salmon said.
Like the generations of family before them, the Salmons believe in giving back to the community. They are involved with the Northwest Indiana Cerebral Palsy Association, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Rebuilding the Breach (Bakery House Ministries), Kids for Hunger, the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.
Salmon said they believe “customer satisfaction is our future.”
The family legacy continues to the fourth generation as the Salmons' daughter Amanda Rosenthal is company controller and her husband Kevin Rosenthal is warranty administrator.