Although Wesley Chapel Nissan wasn’t the first auto dealership to open on S.R. 54 in Wesley Chapel (that was Heritage, now Parks Ford), owner Jay Rosario and his team have certainly been among the most community-oriented auto dealerships in our area since it opened 15 years ago (in 2004).

In one of the more unique business transitions I’ve ever witnessed, the public was invited to watch Rosario and his entire management team (including my friend and Wesley Chapel Rotary Club member Troy Stevenson) on May 20 to hand the baton (and the keys to the dealership) off to Wesley Chapel Nissan’s new owners — the Morgan Auto Group.

CEO Brett Morgan (at left in photo below), known for his TV commercials with Tampa Bay Lightning star Tyler Johnson, brought along new Wesley Chapel Nissan general manager Paul Snedic (right) and the dealership’s new management team to the event, which was attended by at least 100 people, including Pasco County clerk and comptroller Dr. Paula O’Neil, as well as many members of the Wesley Chapel Rotary and the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. Stevenson and the dealership have played integral roles in both organizations.

Wesley Chapel Nissan has hosted Casino Nights for the Rotary and many events for the chamber, as well as several fund raisers for Dr. O’Neil’s “Clerks for a Cure.” She even hosted her book signing for the release of her book Fighting Cancer Like A Girl at WC Nissan.

O’Neil made a presentation of a plaque to Rosario and dubbed him an “Honorary Deputy Clerk” a month or so before she officially retires from her position.

“You have always stood with me, always supported me,” O’Neil (at right in right photo) told Rosario. “You’ve shown us what it means to be invested in a community. Wherever you go, know that we’re always on your side.”

But, the dealership’s internet sales director Crystal Enger (top right photo on next page) stole the show — and the hearts of everyone in attendance — when she gave Rosario a framed card with messages from every employee. The gift was nice, but many tears were shed when Crystal said, “You gave everyone a chance — whether it was somebody who had been sleeping in their car, whether it was someone who used to clean houses or someone who didn’t know where they were getting their next meal — you are the root of why we’re able to grow. We thank you for who you are, and for your heart.”

No, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place after that one. Rosario, who has won many awards for his business acumen, also is an Orange County Reserve Deputy who was one of the first on the scene after the Pulse Night Club shooting.

Of course, the Morgan Auto Group is one of the biggest in the state with 36 total dealerships, and certainly one of the biggest in the Tampa Bay area, with WC Nissan being the 12th under the Morgan umbrella (which also includes MINI of Wesley Chapel).

“We’re all local, we’re all right here in Tampa Bay,” Morgan said at the event of Snedic and the new Nissan management team. “And, the reality is, we do want to continue the relationships in this community.”

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