As a young boy growing up in Chicago’s Italian neighborhood, Joe Perillo always dreamed about owning a nice car one day—a dream that would eventually result in him becoming the number one Cadillac salesman in the nation. While he was finishing up his three-year service in the army at the ripe age of twenty, he landed a job selling cars in Tacoma, WA. There he met Pat, his future bride of 48 years, before moving back to Chicago to fulfill his passion for selling luxury cars.
After a short stint at the Chicago Board of Trade, he came to the conclusion that it was cars and, most importantly, making people happy that really drove him to succeed. So in 1975 he purchased a Pontiac dealership in a fairly obscure area on Diversey Avenue—now located in Lincoln Park—and turned a failed business into a highly successful one within the first five years. He leveraged this success for the opportunity to apply for the first BMW franchise in Chicago, eventually opening this new store on Halsted Street in 1981.
Since that time, he has moved his BMW store to the Gold Coast on Clark and Maple, and has acquired many different luxury lines across three Chicagoland dealerships, including Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Rolls Royce, and Maserati. Perillo is now widely recognized as the premier source of luxury automobiles throughout the region and ranks number one in the Midwest.
To this day Perillo BMW is still a family owned and operated business, unlike most dealers who have sold out to large corporations. Joe, his wife Pat, and his son Joseph are all are hands-on with day-to-day operations, and his daughter Trish is now the dealership’s Managing Director. Joe is also the proud grandpa to three granddaughters and a grandson, Joseph Perillo III. Maybe one day they will be involved with the business as well.
Customers appreciate the close-knit atmosphere and personal involvement of the Perillo family at Perillo BMW, and Mr. Perillo attributes much of his success to the ability to hire only the best employees, who are totally committed to the customer throughout the car-buying experience. He lives by the Golden Rule: to treat all customers and others as you would like to be treated.
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