Posted: July 01, 2012
Minority Businessperson of the Year finalists 2012By
Alpine Buick GMC
Ivette Dominguez has worked in the car business since the summer after she graduated from San Diego State University. "I went to take my car in for service," she says. "The dealership had a help-wanted sign and I thought it would be a great summer job."
Today Dominguez is president and owner of Alpine Buick GMC, a General Motors dealership in southwest Denver. Dominguez, who purchased the dealership in 2005, is one of six Hispanic female dealership owners among 4,458 GM dealerships in the United States. Dominguez is from California, and her parents immigrated from Cuba.
Dominguez doesn’t see car buyers as consumers looking for a vehicle. She sees people experiencing life events. "The act of buying a car is a significant milestone in everyone’s life," she says. "Whether it’s a young man or woman buying their first car, a young couple buying their first baby-friendly car, or someone buying their first luxury car, these are big events. I love being a part of these milestones and doing my part to make the experience great."
In 2009 GM awarded Dominguez its Mark of Excellence for the Western Region. Dominguez sits on the company’s Minority Dealer’s Advisory Council, representing Hispanic GM dealers, and is a member of the GM Women’s Retail Initiative to change industry practices. She also volunteers for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Dominguez’s volunteer efforts extend beyond the auto industry. She and her staff participate in events such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ annual Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids radiothon, sponsoring the phone bank and making calls to potential donors. Last year Alpine Buick GMC launched The Alpine Difference, a program that every quarter gives grants to nonprofit organizations that help women and families in the Denver metro region. So far The Alpine Difference has awarded a total of $20,000 to the Denver Zoo, Jefferson County Public Schools, the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation, Jodi’s Race for Awareness benefiting the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Dress for Success Denver, and Meals on Wheels.
The industry has had its challenges. "The last few years have strengthened our resolve," Dominguez says. "GM’s bankruptcy was a time of great uncertainty and some of our friends lost their dealerships. We still face a harder time with financing for our customers, but overall people are buying cars again."
– Nora Caley