Luneau was a sergeant in the United States Army from 1968 to 1971 and served on the ski patrol at an Armed Forces Recreation Center in Berchtesgaden, Germany. He is a lifetime member of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and American Legion.
In 1973, Luneau earned a degree in accounting, cum laude, from Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. It was that same year that his career in the retail automobile industry commenced.
“I accepted a job offer from my prospective father-in-law, Floyd Handy, to be the service manager at his Toyota and Dodge dealership in Saint Albans,” he said. “In reality, my responsibilities included ‘anything that needed doing.’”
Luneau has performed or directed nearly every function at the dealership and considered Handy a great mentor. After a few years, Handy left to pursue a second career in politics, serving as mayor of Saint Albans and state legislator.
“He offered advice if asked but from that point on never involved himself in day-to-day operations nor interfered with any decisions,” Luneau said. In 1995, Luneau became co- owner of the family business with his wife, Karen, and his brother-in-law, Daniel, and today the operation also includes a Chevrolet dealership, used-car lot and rental car company. Two of his three sons are the next generation to join the company.
“Handy Toyota was my primary focus,” he said. “It is the longest-standing Toyota dealership in Vermont and among the earliest Toyota stores in the Boston Region.” But the road to success had many twists and turns as Luneau entered the car business at the time of the 1973 oil embargo, which greatly affected the global economy and the auto industry as a whole.
“It was a valuable learning opportunity,” he said. “Survival meant doing more with less and working creatively – and that attitude has remained with me.”
Luneau also credits his rural upbringing with providing the necessary tools to be successful in the business world. “Perseverance, dedication and hard work are traits instilled and nurtured in every farm kid,” he said. “Success also necessitated working cooperatively with family, and dealerships frequently resemble farms from an ownership and operations perspective.”
A lifelong resident of Saint Albans, Luneau partners with countless organizations through volunteerism and donations. He spent many years coaching baseball, from T-ball through high school. “I had the pleasure of being on the leadership team that expanded the number of baseball fields available to Saint Albans Little League,” he said. “We added scoreboards, a press box, fencing, concession stand and, most importantly, a sustainable financing model.”
His dealerships also support youth sports, homeless shelters, food pantries, educational programs, workforce development and charitable drives for various nonprofit organizations.
“I truly enjoy the car business,” Luneau said. “I am proud to be a Toyota dealer and sell a quality product, while working with people I respect and serving a community that is my lifeblood.”
Luneau was nominated for the TIME Dealer of the Year award by Marilyn Miller, Executive Director of Vermont Vehicle and Automotive Distributors Association. Luneau and his wife, Karen, have three sons and seven grandchildren.