When Les Anderson caught his world record King Salmon in the spring of 1985, he owned Peninsula Ford at the "Y" in Soldotna. Then Les decided he would spend more time fishing and sold the dealership to Ralph Seekins, who put the Soldotna "Y" on the map with a series of TV ads for Seekins Ford.
This year there promises to be a lot of Great Bear sightings in Soldotna, as the owner of Kenai Chrysler Center, Bob Favretto, hangs out a new shingle on his second auto dealership on the Peninsula to be known as Great Bear Ford.
Even though Favretto admits to being a dye-hard Chicago Bear fan, he states that was not why he chose to call his new store Great Bear Ford, "When I was looking for a name to correspond with some of the philosophies that I have as well as some of the native history of Alaska, I happened to be looking at the Alaska flag and in the Alaska flag is the Big Dipper and in the Dipper they refer to the Great Bear which stands for strength. That really caught my attention, so the name Great Bear Ford actually comes from the Alaska flag," said Favretto.
Twenty-year auto sales veteran Bob Bambace, formerly of Anchorage, has been named the new general manager of Great Bear Ford, "Buying a car is great experience for people, and I love being a part of that and taking care of them after the sale. But the biggest thing is that you are able to be really involved in the community, it gives you the opportunity to do a lot of things whether it's through the Chamber of Commerce, baseball, softball leagues, kids playing hockey, it's just great to be able to give back to the community," said Bambace, who is the only new person being brought to town to work at the Ford store.
"When I came in here I didn't know anybody. It has been a real pleasure for me to meet the people that have been here, and we are going to keep them all. They are a tremendous staff," said Bambace.
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