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Son and Father Keep the Cars Rolling

By: Lori Darvas - Staff Writer

written for Naples Daily News June 17, 1990

Marty Carter wanted his son to remember who helped him out way back when.

Tony Carter and his Father Naples Florida auto sales

That’s why Tony Carter had to name his automobile repair business Tony & Dad’s Automobile Service when he opened it four years ago in North Naples.

“I always tell him I didn’t want him to forget where he got it,” Marty said.

Although the name was recently changed to T&D’s Automotive Service, Marty remains a big influence on the business. Marty Carter, Tony Carter, and Michael Rice are now partners in the business, which was recently incorporated. Tony and Rice handle the repair end of things while Marty handles the bookkeeping. It’s an arrangement that has worked out well for both father and son.

He doesn’t want any part of keeping the books and I don’t want any part of his job,” said 59-year-old Marty. The two have always had plans to go into business together. Tony, 27, came to Naples a few years earlier and worked at various automotive repair shops as a mechanic. Marty told his youngest son to hold on until he retires, so the two could start their own business. They figured that Marty’s accounting background and Tony’s mechanical talents could make a great team.

It took about a year for the business to get off the ground, but that didn’t cause any tension in the family. Instead, Marty and Tony continues to get along as they always had.

“We’ve always had a great relationship,” Marty said. “When I get mad, nobody pays attention to me anyway.”

Tony said it’s no problem working with dad, even when Marty takes time off to do charity work for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “If he needs to do his own thing, he does,” Tony said. “He’s here when he’s needed, and very dependable.”

Rice is the only one around who can lend and objective opinion to the arrangement. He said the Carters get along well, staying out of each other’s way as each goes about his separate and distinct duties.

The only time there’s tension in the air is when Marty wants his or his wife’s car fixed, Rice said: The job goes to the bottom of the list, underneath all the paying customers.

“It’s hard to find time to do it,” Rice said. Marty still has plans to drop out gracefully and live the life of a full-time retiree. But until then, the business is giving him a chance to review the way he raised Tony. It has let him see what type of person his son has become.

“I think he’s turned out to be a pretty good businessman.”

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