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Barbara Papp (R) of Star Ford Lincoln hands over the keys on Feb. 2 of her last Lincoln Town Car sale to Joseph DiRossa of Burbank, Calif.-based Music Express. Holding the banner are Vinnie De La Pena, formerly of Krystal Enterprises, who succeeds Papp as commercial livery manager at Star, and Barbara's husband, Patrick, who has worked with her in sales. The Papps are retiring at the end of the first quarter.
GLENDALE, Calif. — Barbara Papp, an industry fixture who sold thousands of Lincoln Town Cars to limousine operators in California and beyond since 1971, closed her last Town Car sale last week as she plans to retire by the end of the quarter.
Papp has worked in vehicle sales for 41 years, including 22 years as an exclusive limousine vehicle dealer for Lincoln-Ford-Mercury dealerships. Papp, who most recently has run the commercial livery sales division with her husband, Patrick, at Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, sold a total of 20,904 vehicles in her career, with 98% of them Lincoln or Mercury vehicles, and 2% of them Fords. She first initiated Lincoln livery vehicle sales in the Western Region in 1990 at Don Kott Lincoln-Mercury in Carson, Calif.
Papp, age 74, told LCT that the end of production for the Lincoln Town Car Executive L was the logical time to retire. The last 2011 models are being sold and delivered as livery Lincoln dealers nationwide are transitioning this quarter to selling the successor to the Town Car, the 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car. Patrick Papp, 78, who has worked with her in vehicle sales since 2006, also is retiring.
“It has been very fulfilling to me over the years to have been able to be the source of supply to so many successful businesses with not only their vehicles but also having the expertise in completing all of their DMV and PUC necessities,” Papp told LCT.
Papp, known affectionately to everyone in the California limousine industry as “Barb,” also has been a loyal member and supporter of the Greater California Livery Association where she served as a vendor director and hardly ever missed a meeting.
“I have been a board member of the GCLA since its inception back in the late 1980s when John Chester was president,” Papp recalled. “We held our monthly board meetings in the conference room at Don Kott where pizza and beverages were supplied by the dealership. The GCLA put me in charge of selling raffle tickets in those days. It was always fun collecting money for the GCLA cause.”
Barb knew how to charm and keep customers with her enthusiastic, smiling, cheerful demeanor that complements a sharp, perceptive, no-nonsense business approach. She was never shy about promoting her products and services, and everyone knew that Barb could see right through you, so you had better always come clean and play it straight with the grand “Iron Lady” of limo vehicle sales.
“I think Barbara Papp definitely set the mark for being in the elite group of sales producers of Lincolns and Mercury vehicles in the California livery market,” said GCLA President Mark Stewart. “I want to thank her for all of the contributions she made to the California livery industry, being a supportive member and board member of the GCLA. Her dedication and professionalism to this industry set a standard with the highest regard for her customers. With her signature smile, personality and always dressed immaculately, I’m sorry to say she will be sadly missed by all of us in the limousine community.”
Customers and industry colleagues fondly recall working with someone who could best be described as a sales dynamo.