John Facciani has had a love for cars since he was a child. As an adult, his passion for automobiles evolved into a career in car sales. And while his business may have started off a little slow, fast forward 23 years and you can now catch the Johnstown business in the fast lane.
Facciani is the sole owner of Hot Wheelz, located in the West Hills section of Johnstown. The car dealership offers affordable used cars set in the range of $5,000 to $10,000.
“Ninety percent of my business is repeat business,” Facciani said.
“You have to treat people good. You can’t make everybody happy – you never will – but you try your best into doing what you can. And if you treat them good, they’ll come back and see you.”
In October, Facciani purchased the former Westwood Fire Company building and lot adjacent to his property. With the new addition, he plans to expand his detailing services in the upcoming months.
The Johnstown native said he’s proud to still be in business and very excited for the expansion, especially with knowing what it took to make it all happen.
“Starting this was very rough,” Facciani said. “I rented this place for $250 a month – no garage, no water – and I was only allowed to keep five cars here on the lot because it was my rental agreement.
“I actually didn’t think I’d be here six months, and here I am 23 years later.”
While there are several used car dealerships in the area, Facciani said what sets his car lot apart from the next, aside from his prices, is the fact that customers deal with him ... and only him.
“You deal with me,” he said.
“If there’s something wrong, I’m the guy you come to. If something goes right, good for me.
“There’s no managers, there’s no bosses, there’s no other owners – it’s just me.”
Hot Wheelz may begin and end with Facianni, but he’ll be the first to admit he can’t do it all by himself. He currently employs five part-time workers. And while his wife, Theresa, doesn’t work at the dealership, she can be found in many of the company’s advertisements.
“I started using her a couple years ago,” Facciani said. “I figured why pay somebody when you have a beautiful lady at home that you could use.”
The Johnstown couple are proud parents to their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.
Selling vehicles is the majority of Facciani’s business, but it’s not the only service he provides.
“I advertise an awful lot to buy cars,” Facciani said. “That’s getting to be a hard nut to crack, because people are keeping cars longer. I’ll buy cars off of anybody who wants to sell, as long as it’s decent.”
“I sell cars but my biggest thing now is I advertise to buy,” he said. “There’s no gimmicks. I tell people ‘You’ll be in and out of here in 20 minutes.’ ”
Detailing vehicles is another service offered at the West Hills dealership, which is something Facciani plans to expand on in the spring.
“I do some detail work, by appointment only as of now,” Facciani said.
The Johnstown businessman also said it has been important for him to work and partner with other local businesses, which is a priority for him.
“I outsource all my mechanical needs,” he said. “I give all local garages a chance to do my work. I use five or six local garages, and they send me business, too.
I work with Sharkey’s, Deyarmins and Weinzierl’s, and Monroe Muffler – and I try to spread it around – it all comes back around.”
‘For the love of it’
“I loved cars as a child,” Facciani said. “My first word was ‘truck.’ My second word was ‘dad,’ and that was because my dad drove a truck. “Dukes of Hazzard,” “Smokey and the Bandit” – those were my childhood shows and that’s what I grew up on and it all came to a head with me doing this and naming this business, Hot Wheelz.
“I grew up carrying my Hot Wheels case around, playing with my remote control cars, and it turned into a reality for me – a childhood dream that became reality,” he said. “I drove past this place for two years seeing a little For Rent sign on it. I pictured this being my car lot, and was told that I would never succeed in this location.”
Facciani has definitely proven his naysayers wrong as his business continues to grow and flourish in an area that appears to be blossoming as well.
“I always tell people I brought Sheetz down here,” said Facciani with a big smile.
“Hey, Sheetz moved in next to me. It’s usually the other way around.”